China has recently uncovered a widespread misappropriation of an enormous amount of funds from its state lottery program, underscoring the extent of official corruption as the country tries to root out graft. The sum in question here has amounted to a staggering 16.9 billion Yuan ($2.72 billion). Read the full story here.
The money was misappropriated through the buying and building of office buildings and hotels. The money could also have been embezzled, according to a report made by the National Audit Office. The state auditor said that the irregularities have accounted for more than a quarter of the total lottery monies received in its 2012-2014 investigation spanning a total of 18 provinces.
According to various reports, 17 provinces have flouted the law in engaging in lottery sales through the Internet without approval from the Ministry of Finance. Then, in another case, there were a total of 32 lottery shops that used 3.1 billion Yuan in order to construct office buildings, training centres, and also the likes of hotels, the report said.
Driven by rising disposable income, a strong appetite for gambling and more sophisticated games, China’s lottery market is booming with customers making them billions of dollars by playing all the various lotteries. An interesting fact is that China is expected to overtake the United States as the world’s biggest lottery market this year.
So far, the government have made attempts at containing the casino gambling to Macau due to social concerns. Experts on this matter say that officials consider the lottery system to be more sanitized, with fewer negative effects on citizens.
The review over this matter comes as President Xi Jinping’s government has waged a fight against corruption, warning that the problem is so bad that it could actually affect the Communist Party’s grip on power.
Lottery products in China are typically sold through authorized stations throughout the country in the form of physical tickets. These physical tickets can range from dedicated lottery stores to counters in supermarkets, post offices, and also gas stations.
Unlike other lottery playing territories like the United States and Europe, where jackpot prizes have the potential to climb into the hundreds of millions of dollars, China actually caps the jackpots at 10 million Yuan. The lottery tickets in China usually sell for 2 to 200 Yuan, with the proceeds of the tickets going towards sports and welfare charities.
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