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Beijing stops lottery sales
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-05-25 22:27

Citing problems such as fake prizes and lack of notarization, authorities in Beijing have suspended both welfare and sports lotteries.

The Beijing Municipal Bureau of Finance, which supervises the local lottery industry, said dealers will be restructured, the Beijing Times reported.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance ordered local financial authorities to audit lotteries across the country in a comprehensive check-up.

The move followed a widely publicized scandal in Xi'an, provincial capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, in which top prize winners were fixed by the organizers.

After that, the National Sports Lottery Centre stopped sales of sports lottery tickets in all provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

Meanwhile, Beijing financial authorities also found some lottery prizes are fake products.

"Even worse, some prizes were not worth the money advertised," the Beijing Times reported.

The local finance bureau also pointed out that the draws sometimes are not notarized.

The bureau could not be reached Tuesday for further comment.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, officials with the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Finance said sales of lottery tickets are expected to resume in the near future.

"If sales of lottery tickets in Beijing resume, prizes will change to cash from rewards in kind," the official said.

There are two kinds of lottery in China: Ticket lottery and computerized lottery. Ticket lottery announces prize winners on site.

Sports lottery tickets account for a very small percentage of Beijing's local sports lottery market. Most sports lotteries are computerized, said sources with the Beijing Sports Lottery Centre.

But in some medium- and small-sized cities, ticket lottery covers a bigger market, sources said.

Experts have called for lottery legislation to deal with problems in the booming industry.

There is no law on lotteries despite the industry's 17-year history.

"Many important factors, such as distribution and use of funds, prize rules and requirements for people engaged in the industry, are not clearly stipulated clearly," said Zhang Shuguo, a professor with Peking University.

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