China lottery sales fall in first month since suspension of online sales

Lottery sales in China took a tumble in March, the first month since the government suspended online lottery sales.

The Ministry of Finance reported overall lottery sales of RMB 30.8b (US $4.97b) in March, a decline of 6.3% from the same month last year. Welfare lottery sales fell 5% to RMB 17.8b and sports lottery revenue was off 8% to RMB 13b. For the first quarter of 2015, overall sales are up 18.5% to RMB 98.8b.

Lottery sales had been on a tear in 2015, with double-digit increases in both January and February. Then China announced it was instituting a ‘temporary’ suspension of online sales, which followed an audit of provincial lottery administration centers.

The online suspension was sparked by reports that some operators weren’t registering all online sales, thereby depriving the state of revenue. The recent joint statement by eight government ministries strongly suggested the suspension wouldn’t be lifted anytime soon.

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