There might be concerns that China’s overall economy is not growing at its previous stellar rates but the Chinese appetite for playing the lottery is as strong as ever.
In the first half of 2013 total sales of the Welfare and Sports lotteries were RMB 149 billion (US$ 24 billion). This figure was 16% up on the same period in the previous year. The combined sales of the two Chinese state lotteries have doubled between 2009 and 2012, reaching RMB 261 billion (US$ 43 billion) in 2012.
Video Lottery Terminals (VLTs) have proved particularly popular with Chinese lottery players and VLTs are showing some of the highest growth rates of all of China’s lottery games. In H1 2013 VLTs had sales of RMB 13.7 billion (US$ 2.2 billion), up 35% on 2012.

 

GBGC China Lottery VLT Sales 2010 to 2013
“VLTs had a turbulent start when they were first launched. They were always popular with players but their popularity concerned the authorities. The government then imposed a series of restrictions on the VLTs at the end of 2007 under the principle of ‘safe operation and healthy development’”, explained Global Betting and Gaming Consultants’ Director Lorien Pilling. 
Announcement 2007/84 came into force in Q1 2008 and introduced measures designed to curb the growth of VLTs. Opening hours for VLT halls were shortened, the three most popular games were suspended from the terminals, and a limit was placed on the total amount a player could bet per day.
The measures certainly worked. In 2007 VLT sales were RMB 13.3 billion but in 2008 they fell 85% to just RMB 2 billion.
The VLT sector has been adapting to the new restrictions imposed upon it. By the end of 2011 there were more than 20,000 VLTs in operation in 860 venues across China. Sales had reached RMB 17 billion, passing the previous peak seen in 2007 prior to the new restrictions being introduced.
In 2012 and 2013 VLTs have continued to show record growth in sales. By the end of 2012 15,000 units of the new third generation VLT were installed across China and sales for the year were RMB 22.4 billion. In the first half of 2013 VLT sales accounted for 16% of the Welfare Lottery’s sales.
In 2012 the top five provinces for VLT sales accounted for 46% of China’s total VLT sales. The leading province was Zhejiang with sales of RMB 2.95 billion.
 
GBGC Gambling China VLT Sales Province

Read more about the lottery markets in Asia in GBGC’s Global Gambling Report