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China Sells US$582 Million Soccer Lottery
China has sold over 4.83 billion yuan (US$582 million) worth of soccer lottery tickets with 235 people or groups waking up millionaires, the top lottery official said Thursday.

Sun Jinfang, director of China's Sports Lottery Administration, said the sales of soccer lottery tickets have reached 4.83 billion yuan, of which 1.6 billion yuan will go to welfare funds.

Topping the lottery sales are Guangdong (1.96 billion yuan), Liaoning (496 million yuan) and Beijing (388 billion yuan), according to Sun.

Sun said the lottery has produced 35,057 first prizes and 83, 912 second prizes, and made 235 people or groups 1 million yuan (US$120,000) richer and the luckiest 22 five million yuan (US$640,000) richer.

The soccer lottery was launched last October following China's first ever entry into the World Cup finals and closed on April 27.

Lottery players paid 2 yuan (US$2.4 cents) to predict the results of 13 soccer matches, including nine Italian first division league and four from English Premier League, with the digit "3" indicating victory of the home team, "1" draw and "0" defeat of the host.

Buyers who got all the results right were rewarded the top prize, 50 percent of the prize pool, capped at 5 million yuan, and those with 12 correct answers share much smaller second prize.

Weekly sales soared from 21 million yuan from the first week to 230 million yuan early April as Chinese soccer fans' enthusiasm rose.

(People’s Daily May 10, 2002)

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