More people playing the lottery means more money for China's welfare recipients. By the end of 1999, a total of 39.52 billion yuan (US$4.76 billion) worth of lottery tickets had been sold since the welfare lottery was introduced on July 28, 1987.
More than 11.87 billion yuan (US$1.43 billion) of social welfare funds have been collected as a result. Out of which, 1.5 billion yuan (US$180.7 million) has been turned over to the State for a special disaster relief fund and 8 billion yuan (US$963 million) has been spent on welfare works.
Welfare lottery has provided a driving force to China's welfare development.
Statistics from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that from 1987 to 1997, governments at all levels invested 1.41 billion yuan (US$169.8 million) into urban welfare facilities, while welfare lotteries provided 4.1 billion yuan (US$494 million) to facilities during the same period.
The lottery has been a major factor preventing the country's public welfare from falling far behind the fast economic development, said an official with the China Welfare Lottery Centre.
Thanks to money collected from the welfare lottery, more than 81,000 projects, including special education for mentally-handicapped children, have been established across the country.
At present, the Ministry of Civil Affairs collects 2.5 per cent of the lottery sales for a special social welfare fund, which has financed the rebuilding of 103 children welfare institutions and treated some 2,000 disabled children.
The welfare lottery has indirectly pushed forward China's economic development, the official said. The lottery covers 95 per cent of the country, employing over 74,750 people.
A recent survey on the lottery showed that the country's lucky winners would not hesitate to spend their new riches.
Seventy-three per cent of the respondents said they would spend the money right away to buy houses or cars, according to the survey by the China Welfare Lottery Centre.
Some economists were encouraged by the results of the survey, noting that the lottery will be a boost to the country's domestic consumption.
It is estimated that nearly 4 billion yuan (US$481.9 million) will be spent on domestic consumption if 10 billion yuan (US$1.20 billion) worth of lottery tickets are sold each year.