Hong Kong is home to one of the world’s most successful lotteries and lottery games. It is regulated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, which was founded in 1884. It ranks among Hong Kong’s oldest non-profit organisations and is responsible for a number of charitable causes. It also organizes horse racing and lotteries. Prizes for the lottery are capped at around 10 million yuan. Tickets are available at dedicated lottery outlets, as well as in many supermarkets and post offices.
During his lunch break, Shen Bin buys three lottery tickets from a brightly lit store on a busy road in Shenzhen, a booming city north of Hong Kong. Then he waits to see his numbers flash across television screens suspended from the ceiling. “I haven’t won anything yet, but I don’t worry about it,” Shen says. “I just like watching the numbers.”
Last week, Hong Kong customs seized 16,000 Mark Six tickets that were believed to be being smuggled into China and Macau for resale. A team of officers manually checked the tickets with the help of staff members from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the organiser of the lottery. They found that nearly 600 of them were already redeemable for prizes worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
While it is illegal to play the lottery in China without a valid ticket, officials want to lure punters with improved payouts and new products, industry executives say. They also plan to consolidate the market by requiring companies that promote and conduct lottery games to register with the government’s gambling authority.