China clarifies online lottery position

    China’s Ministry of Finance has moved to clarify its position on online lottery ticket sales after a media report last week stating that the government had declared all current operations as illegal sent lottery company shares reeling. The government has confirmed that two companies have been allowed to operate on a trial basis, including 500.com. The company saw its share price plunge 15 percent after the Chinese media report, despite reporting better-than-expected earnings earlier in the day. 500.com issued a separate statement stressing the legality of its operations. “The company reiterates that it has obtained all relevant approvals to legitimately operate an online sports lottery service in China. In particular, the Company has obtained approval from the Ministry of Finance of the People’s Republic of China, which is the ultimate regulator of China’ s lottery industry and oversees the operation of China Sports Lottery Administration Center,” it said. China is expected to regulate online lottery sales on a broader basis later this year.