lotteries


lotteries
(caijuan, caipiao)
Playing the lottery (caijuan/caipiao) is a popular recreational activity in contemporary China. Lottery selling has become a multi-billion dollar business in recent years: $6 billion were generated through selling paper tickets in 2001. The Chinese government banned gambling when it came to power in 1949. Although the government considered gambling illegal, it decided to sell lotteries to raise funds for social welfare projects in the 1980s. Rather than calling the lottery gambling, Chinese leaders refer to it as ‘competitive guessing’ (bocai). The first lottery, a half-million-yuan welfare lottery approved by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, was on sale in Shijiazhuang on 27 July 1987. The top prize was 5,000 yuan.
Since then, the lottery industry has been growing rapidly.
Currently, lotteries cover four major categories: welfare, the elderly, education and sports. Types of lotteries include traditional, instant win and computerized lotteries. The most recent category of lottery, soccer lottery, was launched by the State Sports General Administration in 2001. Although the current limit for the top prize in each lottery category is 5 million yuan, its increase is under consideration. Hundreds of lottery ticket outlets are established in major cities (for example, over 500 outlets in Chengdu). In addition to paper lottery tickets, lottery sales also use newly available media like the Internet and the wireless phone. The lottery industry nationwide produces at least dozens of millionaires each year. In Sichuan in the period from August 1999 to February 2000, for example, lottery games created more than forty millionaires.
REN HAI

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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