$3 billion worth of lottery tickets sold in southern Vietnam in 2016

By VnExpress   January 18, 2017 | 09:00 pm GMT+7
$3 billion worth of lottery tickets sold in southern Vietnam in 2016
Around 856 million lottery tickets were sold in southern Vietnam last year, worth a total of VND66.68 trillion ($2.9 billion). Photo by AFP/Hoang Dinh Nam

That did not include sales of Vietlott, a newcomer that has shaken the market with an American-style jackpot game.

Around 856 million lottery tickets were sold in southern Vietnam last year, worth a total of VND66.68 trillion ($2.9 billion), up 8.1 percent from 2015, according to media reports.

The region's 21 lottery firms spent nearly half of that on prizes for winners and sent VND22.35 trillion to the state budget. Their combined profit was estimated at VND8.79 trillion.

These company, selling the so-called "traditional" pre-printed tickets, have been facing a tough competition from Vietlott, a state-run company with an American-style jackpot game that has shaken the market in recent months.

In a meeting of the Southern Lottery Council on Tuesday, the lottery firm from Bac Lieu Province proposed raising the top prize to a whopping VND12 billion, from VND2 billion currently, to at least match the minimum prize offered by Vietlott. The council has already raised their prize from VND1.5 billion.

Traditional tickets still dominate the market for now. In comparison, Vietlott said its sales last year reached VND1.6 trillion, with VND1.3 trillion coming from the southern region.

But the company is expanding.

The Mega 6/45, launched in July last year as part of an exclusive 18-year contract with Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya, is in fact its very first foray into the market. In the American-style game, players select six numbers from 1 to 45 and win the jackpot, starting at VND12 billion ($538,000), by matching all six winning numbers from the draw. Each ticket costs VND10,000 (40 cents).

The jackpot prize will keep growing with time and with more players, until there is a winner. The odds of winning are extremely low, believed to be around one in 8.14 million.

The southern lottery council has complained that instead of letting players choose their own numbers, Vietlott also sold pre-printed tickets, to unfairly compete with other companies. Vietlott has also been accused of overcharging.

Local authorities have not responded to these accusations.

Vietnam bans gambling among its citizens but lottery tickets are popular nationwide.

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