China’s booming lottery industry generated 309.33 billion yuan (US.66 billion) in revenue in 2013, an increase of 18.3 percent over 2012.
The official Xinhua news agency said Welfare Lottery sales amounted to 176.53 billion yuan, an increase of 16.9 percent. Sports Lottery sales rose 20.2 percent to 132.8 billion yuan.
The Ministry of Finance attributed the increases to new products, notably the promotion of quiz-style games, and more outlets for online games.
Sales in December totaled 30.28 billion yuan ($5 billion), up 13 percent year on year. The Welfare Lottery accounted for 17.63 billion yuan, a 17.1 percent increase. Sports Lottery sales were up 7.7 percent to 12.64 billion.
The boom has prompted a company linked to Macau casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment to cash out a portion of its investment in MelcoLot, a subsidiary that distributes play terminals for the Sports Lottery.
Melco International made HK$224.8 million (US$29 million) through a sale of shares representing about 7 percent of MelcoLot’s equity.
“The directors consider that the disposal represents a good opportunity to realize profit from the group’s investment in MelcoLot,” the parent said in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.