Chinese lottery sales fall 17.5% in 2019

18 February 2020

China’s Welfare and Sports Lottery sales declined 17.5% to CNY422.05bn (£46.39bn/€55.80bn/$60.12bn) in 2019, after the year concluded with a 4.9% year-on-year decline in sales for December, according to figures from the country’s Ministry of Finance.

The bulk of 2019 sales were generated via the Sports Lottery, which accounted for CNY230.81bn of the total, down 19.6% from 2018. The Welfare Lottery, meanwhile, contributed a further CNY191.24bn, representing a 14.8% decline.

Over the year, only two verticals - instant win games and keno - reported growth in sales. Instant win sales were up 26.6% to CNY285.2m, while keno sales rose 28.6% to CNY167.0m.

All other verticals posted year-on-year sales drops. Digital lottery was down 17.6% to CNY227.34bn, while quiz-type lottery products fell 26.3% to CNY121.94bn. Video lottery sales, meanwhile, were down 7.1% to CNY44.09bn.

Looking at sales across China’s 34 provincial administrative divisions, Sichuan province was the only region to report year-on-year growth in lottery sales in 2019, with a 6.2% increase to CNY18.81bn. The biggest drop in sales was recorded in Hainan, where sales fell 47.1% to CNY1.64bn.

This followed a year of 11 consecutive months of year-on-year sales declines, concluding with a 4.9% drop in December’s takings, to CNY40.93bn. Sports Lottery again contributed the majority, or CNY22.17bn of sales (down 1.1%), with a further CNY18.76bn coming from the Welfare Lottery (down 9.0%).

Digital lottery sales for the month fell 7.9% to CNY22.98bn, with quiz-type games’ contribution falling 2.3% to CNY11.55bn, and video lottery ticket sales down 13.6% to CNY3.66bn.

As with the full-year results, only instant win and keno sales grew year-on-year, and both from low bases. Instant ticket sales were up 35.4% in December to CNY2.72bn, with keno’s contribution growing 69.0% to CNY16.0m.

However, the final month did see growth in sales across 11 provinces, with a 47.3% increase in Jiangxi, to CNY1.16bn, the highest riser. Hainan was the biggest faller in December, with sales down 30.6%.

Following the Chinese lottery market’s struggles in 2019, the Ministry of Finance instructed all lottery agencies to closely track and analyse new situations and issues, in order to boost sales going forward.

Provincial financial authorities should look to strengthen supervision of their gaming sectors, to promote the market’s healthy development, it added.