More stores, good dreams boost lottery sales

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More stores, good dreams boost lottery sales

Sales of lottery tickets during the first half rose 6.9 percent year on year to mark 1.89 trillion won ($1.69 billion), the highest in nearly 15 years, after the government began allowing more stores to sell tickets and a slow economy has led more to bet on the lottery.

The current lottery system was first introduced in Korea in 2002, and sales peaked during the first half of 2003, when the figure recorded nearly 2 trillion won, as the new system piqued Koreans’ interest and curiosity.

Sales subsequently slowed, but they started to pick up again last year after the government allowed more stores to sell lottery tickets. During the first half of 2015, 1.77 trillion won in tickets were sold, a year-on-year growth rate of 9.2 percent.

The government’s move last year to increase the number of stores was the first such change in more than a decade. Experts believe the higher number of stores combined with a slowing economy has boosted lottery ticket sales.

A Finance Ministry survey of 75 lottery winners from the first half of the year found that most of them lived in the province of Gyeonggi, followed by the cities of Seoul and Incheon.

By age, people in their 40s made up the largest group, followed by people in their 30s and 50s.

Winners said they bought their lottery tickets after having good dreams about their ancestors, money and animals. Many of them said they spent their prize money on real estate and paying back debts.

The survey also found that 93 percent of winners said they would keep their jobs, while only 7 percent of them said they would quit after winning.

The government’s lottery sales goal for this year is 3.76 trillion won, 5.7 percent higher than last year’s goal. Sales in the first half account for 50.3 percent of this year’s goal.

The ministry said it plans to give 1.67 trillion won made from lottery sales to help low-income households and victims of domestic violence.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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