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Tuesday, April 25, 2000, updated at 09:40(GMT+8)

China Regulates Lottery Industry

China is computerizing its lottery system and handing out cash awards to stamp out fraud in the fast-growing lottery industry, according to the Ministry of Finance.

China has issued a total of 50.277 billion yuan worth of lottery tickets since 1987. The Chinese spent 14.302 billion yuan on lottery games in 1999, nearly double the amount in the previous year.

This year, the government is planning to issue 13 billion yuan worth of lottery tickets, 44 percent more than the scheduled figure of 9 billion yuan in 1999.

The central government, which controls China's lottery business, has so far allowed only two kinds of lotteries to be held around the country, namely the sports and social welfare lotteries.

The Ministry of Finance said in a news release today that the management of the government-run lottery industry has loopholes and is handicapped by many problems.

For example, some institutions and individuals have held unauthorized lotteries or sold government lottery tickets without approval. Poor management of the lottery has led to mass looting and destruction of property in some places.

The Ministry of Finance decided recently that lottery prize money will be distributed in the form of cash instead of goods. It is also holding computerized lotteries in about half of the areas in China. It has also urged sports and social welfare authorities to develop nation-wide computer networks for lottery ticket sales.

The news release said that these methods will sidestep such circumstances as inferior quality of prize goods. They will also make the process of issuing lottery tickets more manageable and transparent.

One of the advantages of these methods is preventing large crowds of people from congregating at ticket sales sites, which is liable to cause losses of property and even casualties.

The computerized lottery networks enable people to buy tickets at lottery stations around the country. Prize money can be transmitted directly to a winner's bank account.

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China is computerizing its lottery system and handing out cash awards to stamp out fraud in the fast-growing lottery industry.

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