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Revenue from lotteries declines 13%

By: 2020/7/30 17:24:43
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Scandals, economic pressures mar appeal of donating to charity groups

The revenue from China's lotteries dipped 13 percent last year, according to the Blue Book of Philanthropy released on Sunday, in the latest sign of declining appeal of traditional charitable vehicles.

The China Sports Lottery and the China Welfare Lottery are among the few legal avenues for betting in the country and have generally accrued large amounts of money.

Jointly released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Social Sciences Academic Press and the China Lingshan Council for the Promotion of Philanthropy, the report said lottery revenue was 114 billion yuan ($16.2 billion), 17.3 billion yuan lower than the previous year, citing figures from the Ministry of Finance.

In addition to the lottery revenue, donations from wealthy individuals-a major source of traditional charity income-also declined in per capita terms.

The report said that 114 business tycoons listed on the Hurun China Philanthropy List 2019 donated a total of 22.5 billion yuan last year, a 3 percent increase year-on-year. But the per capita donation was 200 million yuan, 10 percent lower than the previous year.

The decline was in contrast to growing popularity of online philanthropist events and programs, which got more than 5.2 billion views and raised 1.8 billion yuan in just the first six months of last year, the blue book said, citing figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

The events were held on 20 websites that the ministry has designated as the only legal platforms for hosting such activities as part of a broader effort to tighten supervision of a fast-growing sector after China rolled out its landmark Charity Law in 2016.

A host of scandals involving online charity programs has enraged the public in recent years, prompting authorities to ramp up oversight.

In 2017, an online charity program that matches donors with poor children born on the donors' birthdays faced scrutiny after netizens found the same photos of children were used under different names, raising concerns of fraud. The program was closed and the money was returned to donors.

The China Charity Alliance has issued a set of rules to strengthen the regulation of charity organizations nationwide.

The rules, which went into effect on July 1, make explicit stipulations on the management of charity archives and projects, social-value assessment of charity programs, and the evaluation of charity communities, among others.

According to the blue book, China recorded 337 billion yuan in charitable resources last year, which included public donations and the value of volunteer work.

It was slightly lower than the 340 billion yuan recorded in 2018, though much higher than the 321 billion yuan in 2017.

Yang Tuan, a Chinese Academy of Social Sciences researcher and chief compiler of the report, said the recent decline was in part a reflection of mounting downward economic pressure.

"Charity revenue is the barometer of China's socioeconomic development," she told China Philanthropist magazine, adding that the correlation needs more annual figures as proof.

Yang said the tightened supervision following the enforcement of the Charity Law may also account for the shrinking trend.

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