The Chinese authorities are mulling partially lifting the current ban on online lottery sales, according to Chinese business newspaper The Economic Observer, quoting an unnamed source.
The report stated that Chinese officials planned to launch pilot programmes later this year to resume online lottery sales.
An industry source quoted by official newspaper China Daily said new pilot programmes should feature innovative solutions regarding security, sales systems and user experience. The same source added that large online companies with high numbers of users and access to big data technologies could have a competitive advantage in the selection process for the pilot programmes.
The suspension of online lottery sales in mainland China was confirmed in April last year and described at the time as “temporary”. Reasons given were the need to streamline government oversight and to curb fraud by unlicensed sellers.
AGTech Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed operator in the China lottery market, said in its annual results last month it was hopeful new lottery regulations could be introduced this year. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd – an investor in taobao.com, mainland China’s largest online shopping portal – is in the process of taking a majority stake in AGTech.
According to The Economic Observer, online lottery sales in mainland China reached CNY85 billion (US$13.1 billion) in 2014, double the amount recorded one year earlier.
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DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd