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China Hunting Down Unauthorised Online LotteriesPublished January 23, 2015 by Mike P
Lotteries are incredibly popular in China, so the government is currently trying to close down all unauthorised lotteries to protect revenue.
Unlike the special administrative region of Macau, gambling is largely restricted in mainland China. In fact, one of the only legalised activities is to play the nation’s various lotteries, of which sports lotteries and welfare lotteries are two of the most popular.
In 2014, the total lottery sales in China amounted to $61.5 billion, which represented an increase of 23.6% on 2013 sales. Key to the increase last year was the presence of the 2014 World Cup. Compared to the previous year, December 2014 sales of sports lottery tickets had increased by 31.3%, while there was growth of 10.9% for the welfare lottery.
Recent Inspection Conducted
While conducting an inspection of China’s provincial admin centres overseeing the lottery, the National Audit Office checked that all funds were being used correctly. But another concern of the office was that unauthorised lottery operators might be benefiting from the public’s appetite for lotteries.
Following the wave of inspections, letters have been sent from the ministries dedicated to finance, sports, and civil affairs with a specific directive: shut down all unlicensed lottery operators. A timeframe of 1 March 2015 has been assigned to the provincial admin centres of the lotteries.
Severe penalties have been threatened for operators who continue past that date. Furthermore, the government has also promised severe punishment for any administrative staff who have failed to act effectively.
Limited to Chinese Citizens
At present, the Chinese lotteries are only available for Chinese citizens. However, this has limited the growth of the potential prize pools because the number of people buying tickets is not as large as it could be. China only currently has two operators handling online lottery sales.
Transparency has been an issue of complaint for Chinese residents, who demand to know the winners. They want to know that the funds are being won by real people, rather than being retained by the government instead.
China vs World
The appeal of online lotteries is that they make lotteries around the world accessible to international players. Now, a resident of Australia is not limited to local lotteries, he can buy an online lottery ticket to lotteries anywhere in the world. However, the online lotteries in China are restricted to Chinese citizens and are not open internationally. Players who wish to buy tickets for international lotteries will still not be able to access the Chinese market.