China’s official lottery sales dropped to RMB30.81 billion (US$5.03 billion) in March, down 6.3 percent year-on-year, reported Chinese news agency Xinhua, quoting official data released on Wednesday.
Welfare lottery sales decreased by 5 percent year-on-year to RMB17.82 billion, while sports lottery sales slipped 8 percent to RMB12.99 billion, the Ministry of Finance announced.
For the first calendar quarter as a whole, there was a year-on-year increase of 18.5 percent in lottery sales, with approximately RMB94.84 billion-worth of lottery tickets sold.
But since February the mainland authorities have reportedly been clamping down on the online sale of lottery tickets, resulting by February 28 in all provincial sports lottery administration centres suspending the acceptance of “online purchase orders for lottery products”.
On April 3, no fewer than eight Chinese central government agencies said all online sales of lottery tickets in China must immediately cease. The joint statement added that in future anyone wishing to sell such tickets online would have to obtain consent from the Ministry of Civil Affairs or the General Administration of Sports of China and that any entity that provided online lottery sales services must be pre-approved by the Ministry of Finance.
Last year saw RMB382.38 billion spent on lottery tickets, up 23.6 percent from 2013, according to the Ministry of Finance.
One of the firms affected by the current online sales ban is Shenzhen-based 500.com Ltd.
In November 2013, 500.com was able to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq in New York at US$13.00 per share on the strength of having what it said was permission for a “pilot programme” agreed by China’s Ministry of Finance to sell tickets for the China sports lottery via an online platform.
The shares were trading at US$17.21 at the close of business on Tuesday according to Reuters.
On Friday, United States-based law firm Kahn Swick and Foti LLC said investors had until April 28 to join a class action lawsuit against 500.com. The suit claims 500.com violated U.S. federal securities laws by allegedly failing to disclose material information in connection with its IPO.
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