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China uncovers misuse of $2.7 billion in state lottery funds

China has uncovered widespread misappropriation of 16.9 billion yuan ($2.72 billion) of funds from its state lottery program, underscoring the extent of official corruption as the country tries to root out graft, Reuters reported.

Funds were misappropriated through the buying and building of office buildings and hotels, or embezzled, the National Audit Office said in a report on its website.

The state auditor said the irregularities accounted for a quarter of the total of lottery funds received in its 2012-2014 investigation that spanned 18 provinces.

It said 17 provinces had flouted the law in engaging in lottery sales through the Internet without approval from the Ministry of Finance.

In another case, 32 lottery shops had used 3.1 billion yuan to construct office buildings, training centers and hotels, the report said.

Spurred by rising disposable income, a strong appetite for gambling and more sophisticated games, China's lottery market has boomed with customers splurging billions of dollars. China is expected to overtake the United States as the world's biggest lottery market this year.



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