Friday, November 7, 2014

Questions Arise About Chinese Welfare Lottery Fund Allocations

Reports from the Xinhua news agency state China's Welfare Lottery has come under scrutiny of late and many people believe details about the allocation of funds to the welfare sector is too vague.

The Welfare Lottery is so named because it is supposed to generate funds for public welfare. Since the lottery's launch in 1987 its products have generated around USD$ 284 billion, with USD$ 85 billion supposedly being awarded to welfare projects.

Xinhua's report accuses the lottery of keeping murky records and ensuring the public is kept in the dark about how the money is spent.

Media reports also reveal lottery issuance agencies in a number of provinces may have used lottery funds to pay for the building of luxurious office blocks, hotels, and training centers.  The money used is believed to have been taken from the 15% issuance fee from the total sale amount. Last year's issuance fees totaled around USD$ 7.4 billion.

The Institute of Sociology, Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences, recommend the lottery be more up-front about how funds are allocated, stating this may alleviate public concerns. The institute also suggests the issuance fee be revised.

Concerns have also been raised about the identities of big winners, who always pick up their prizes wearing face-covering costumes.

In October a big winner claimed their prize wearing a bear costume.

"We are told very little about the winners and how the total funds are allocated; we really have a lot of questions," a lottery player said.

"There's always someone who becomes the sole winner of a grand prize. There must be something going on behind the scenes," another player pointed out.

Lottery issuance center staff insist revealing the identity of winners would be a breach of the regulations.