China investigates lottery corruption

corruption concept

China has been hit by another lottery scandal as the country’s only legal form of gambling once again comes under the corruption spotlight.

Last week the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs announced that the former director of the China Welfare Lottery Issuance Management Centre, Wang Suying, was being investigated by the ministry’s disciplinary inspection and supervisory departments.

Wang started work at for the welfare lottery in 2008, and eventually became the director of the Management Centre in 2015 before she took retirement May 2017.

She is the fifth lottery official accused of corruption in the past eighteen months. Both her predecessor at the Centre, Bao Xuequan, and Bao’s deputy Wang Yunge, have been kicked out of the Chinese Communist Party for abusing their positions, and two other lottery officials were demoted in 2017.

Misusing lottery funds

Three years ago, the National Audit Office of China revealed that it had discovered evidence of senior lottery officers misusing lottery funds. They estimated that between 2012 and 2014, around 25 percent of the government’s take from lottery proceeds had been appropriated and instead of going towards the support of social causes, had been spent on luxuries by the officials. 

According to Beijing Lawyers Association member Li Wei, a contributing factor to these scandals has been the lack of oversight of how lottery funds are dealt with. This lack of supervision led the government to suspend online lottery sales in 2015. At the time, the Beijing authorities believed that local officials were permitting online lotteries to sell tickets without registering sales figures with the central government, a practice that has now been outlawed.

Beijing has also warned illegal lottery operators and associated host sites that the government is losing patience with the practices of unauthorized lotteries.

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