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China’s lottery industry on the cusp of rebirth

The Chinese government’s suspension of online lottery sales is a move that “makes sense” for any government trying to create an organized and sophisticated industry, experts said during a panel discussion at the G2E Asia conference.

Filippos Antonopoulos, CEO of Vermantia, a digital gaming and media content company, said China’s drive to better regulate the lottery market follows the unexpected success of companies involved in lottery sales.

Since allowing game operators to operate freely online a few years ago, companies have been enjoying year-on-year revenue increases of more than 100 percent, which has prompted authorities to re-evaluate the value and influence of the industry and exercise more control over it, said Antonopoulos.

“It makes sense for any government to do and makes sense for the Chinese government to do.”

In April, China’s Ministry of Finance approved a pilot scheme in Jiangsu province for mobile phone instant lottery sales to be carried out starting May. Attempting to roll out such a service in China’s second-largest province, is a bold move by the government that shows confidence in the market’s potential.

“The Chinese government is not afraid of the size of the project,” Antonopoulos said.

“The problems arise in commercial decisions. Do we allow intra or inter province gaming. Do we allow this to be multiplayer or single player gaming environment.”

John English, CEO of WEBE Gaming, also on the panel, said the province by province test markets are producing progressive games and innovative content aided by dynamic companies such as Tencent and WeChat which are re-selling the tickets.

English said customers will become more demanding in terms of how exciting the games are and the experience they get out of each game.

 “People are looking for more [such as] more offers and things to do other than sit at the machine, [which is] a repetitive process...Sports betting gives a big option to give a comprehensive offering and we are starting to see more of that including social and interactive gaming.”

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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