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Chinese lottery suspension a sensible move

Panel speakers at the G2E Asia conference this week said that the suspension of Chinese online lottery activity by the Chinese authorities was an understandable move on the government's part to bring more order and control to a rapidly expanding sector.

The success of the booming online lottery business had been beyond expectations, with lottery sales companies generating increases in revenues of more than 100 percent annually in some cases. That understandably motivated the authorities to review the situation with a view to increasing regulation and control, said the CEO of media and digital group Vermantia, Filippos Antonopoulos.

Delegates heard that last (April) month the Ministry of Finance in China gave the green light for a pilot project involving mobile phone instant lottery action in the Jiangsu province, and that this was in progress at present. It was a bold and ambitious initiative, given the size of the province and its population, and it showed government confidence in the viability of such a digital market, experts opined.

It also raises commercial questions that remain to be answered if the pilot project is a success, namely whether inter-province selling will be permitted and the future nature of the gambling environment, the panelists said.

Another panelist, John English of Webe Gaming, said that province by province test marketing involving major re-seller companies has shown that punters become more demanding in relation to the quality of the gambling experience and the games on offer, challenging the industry to be more innovative and imaginative, especially on the possibilities that sports betting could offer.

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