Sales hit new record as Internet eases access
The month-long soccer carnival in Brazil has brought ecstasy to China's quiz-type sports lottery vendors, sales of which set a new record during this year's World Cup, according to the latest data released on Monday.
The total national quiz-type sports lottery ticket sales reached more than 12.9 billion yuan ($2.08 billion) during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil which closed on Sunday (local time), with sales of soccer lottery of the guessing species being the primary contributor with a total of 12.32 billion yuan, statistics from Caitong, a Beijing-based lottery consultancy firm, showed on Monday.
This outshines 1.35 billion yuan worth of quiz-type sports lottery tickets sold during the 2010 World Cup, according to the figures provided by the consultancy.
The sales of quiz-type lotteries, started only five years ago in the country, saw an explosive growth during this year's World Cup, mostly driven by a massively broadened sales network with a bunch of Web portals and online retailers joining the lottery boom, Li Jian, co-president of Caitong, told the Global Times on Monday.
Roughly 70 percent of the lottery tickets were sold online, Li revealed, with various marketing activities such as certain rebates for topping up users' lottery-buying account registered with various Web platforms serving to push the craze.
China's online sports lottery operator 500.com saw its daily sports lottery sales soar three to five times during this year's tournament and the number of daily users newly subscribed to its platform increased tenfold, Yan Dong, a PR officer of the website, told the Global Times on Monday.
The exact sales figures for the company, which went listed in the New York Stock Exchange in November 2013, will not be publicly available until the announcement of its second quarter financial results which is due in August, according to Yan.
The sales figures of sports lotteries on other popular online platforms, such as the country's largest Internet marketplace taobao.com, are yet to be known.
"We're not going to publish the sales figures," a media officer of Alibaba Group, Taobao's parent company, told the Global Times on Monday, implying that the sales platform might be under pressure as there have been mounting debates over whether the likes of Taobao have the eligibility for running the lottery business as they are not seen as having gained the official permit for doing so.
The Ministry of Finance said in a statement released in January 2013 that online lottery sales were permitted, renewing Internet-based lottery sales that were banned in 2008.
But Li at Caitong stressed the likes of Taobao are on course to be granted official license, although the time frame for the approval is hard to predict.
A regulatory vacuum in the oversight of the online lottery market has actually led to the absence of official license for many Internet companies, Su Guojing, founder of the China Lottery Industry Salon, told the Global Times on Monday.
But this is going to change, as a number of Internet companies have already submitted applications for running the lottery business and new rules are expected to be put into place, laying groundwork for continued boom in the online lottery sector, he remarked.
Though the World Cup fever will not be seen again until four years later, industry watchers expect the latest bout of sports lottery boom to help groom loyal lottery buyers.
Zhang Yu, a 27-year-old Beijing resident, said that she is not a lottery fan, but lured by this year's World Cup fever, she spent 200 yuan in purchasing soccer lotteries.
"When betting some money on a match, I feel like the match would become more exciting," she told the Global Times on Monday.
"Although I lost all the money this time, I will still buy lotteries in the next tournament," she went on to say.
Newspaper headline: World Cup jubilation for lottery vendors