Lottery purchases on the rise as growing economy builds consumer culture
China’s Ministry of Finance reported that lottery sales topped RMB 309.33 billion in 2013 (just over $50 billion), up 18 percent from the previous year. The majority of revenue was provided by two lottery services, the Welfare Lottery and Sports Lottery.
The Welfare lottery is so named because it provides a stream of social welfare funds used to help citizens in need. It brought in the majority of lottery sales at RMB 176.53 billion. Coming in second was the sports lottery, which grew 20 percent from 2012.
Lottery numbers indicate burgeoning consumer culture
The growing lottery figures come as Chinese citizens are contributing more of their incomes to consumer luxuries like entertainment and dining out.
Even as economic growth has slowed from its astronomical pre-2008 levels, average wages are rising rapidly and more growth is being accounted for by consumption over investment and export.
According to Chinese gambling laws most forms of betting and casino games are illegal. Lottery is one of the legal forms available, and is being enjoyed by increasing numbers of citizens.
The Chinese city state of Macau has been all over gambling news during the past decade as it has become the global capital of casino gambling, overtaking Las Vegas. However, it operates semi-autonomously from the central government and is off limits for the average Chinese citizen.