Thursday, June 25, 2015 the National Audit Office of China revealed misappropriation of lottery funds on its website. According to the report investigators have found approximately 16.9 billion Yuan has been miss used. This is approximately $2.72 billion USD. The discovery is yet another effort on the part of the Chinese government to stop corruption and illegal activities, which have primarily focused on junket operators with regards to VIP gambling in Macau. The report found funds were used to build or buy office buildings and hotels, as well as embezzled. The state auditor shows irregularities from 2012 to 2014. President Xi Jinping’s government is worried about the lottery misappropriation and overall corruption. The government believes it could influence the Communist Party’s hold of power.
As the government uncovered more about the lottery funds misuse, they discovered 18 provinces have had a hand in misappropriation. Of those 18 provinces, 17 have gone against Chinese internet laws to sell tickets online. They did not have Ministry of Finance approval. There are 32 shops that have used 3.1 billion Yuan to build office buildings, hotels, and training centers.
Gambling in casinos has been kept to Macau, but the government did not think it was a problem to allow the lottery to be available. It was thought that the lottery is cleaner with fewer negative issues for citizens.
The lottery market is increasing in interest and may overtake the US in terms of being the biggest lottery industry in the world for 2015. Lottery tickets are typically sold in authorized locations with a physical ticket provided to the buyer. Supermarkets, gas stations, and post offices are the usual place to buy tickets. A ticket can sell for as low as 2 Yuan and up to 200 Yuan. The lottery is also capped at 10 million Yuan, unlike other lotteries in Europe and the US, which can reach hundreds of millions of dollars. By today’s exchange rate one US$ equals about 6.2 yuan.