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Gov't solicits opinion on lottery regulation
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China has published a draft management regulation on lotteries and is asking for the public's opinions.

If officially issued, it would be the country's first national management regulation on lotteries since the country gave the green light to its lottery industry in 1987.

The solicitation of public opinion will last through March 28, and the regulation will be issued later this year. There is no fixed date so far.

"The regulation will enhance supervision of the fast-growing lottery industry and stamp out fraud, which has been on the rise since the country launched its first lottery two decades ago," said a report on the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council website.

Currently, China has a provisional regulation on the management of lottery distribution and sales. It was issued by the Ministry of Finance in 2002.

According to the proposed draft, carried by the website, no individual, organization or government department could sell lotteries without permission from the State Council. The China Welfare Lottery Administrative Center and the sports lottery administrative center of the China General Administration of Sport, both state-run, are the only two legitimate lottery outlets.

Public hearings will be held along with expert consultation before new lotteries are set up.

The draft requires lottery vendors to keep the identity of lottery winners confidential. It also demands transparency of money taken in and how it is spent on a regular basis.

Lottery funds should cover lottery prizes and management funding for lottery sellers. The rest, should be spent on the improvement of public welfare, according to the draft, quoting that a percentage of the revenue would be decided by State Council financial departments.

Individuals or government departments violating the regulation by selling lotteries unauthorized by the State Council would be fined and face criminal charges. Their illegal gains would be confiscated, it said.

Lotteries have generated huge economic and social returns in China over the past two decades. The country had issued 363 billion yuan (49 billion U.S. dollars) of lottery tickets through 2006. More than a third of the proceeds were spent on public welfare, such as the development of public sports facilities, education and health care for the handicapped.

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)

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