Published On: Wed, Jan 31st, 2018

Japan Approves Online Lottery Sales

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In a new move, Japan’s internal affairs ministry has given the green signal to publicly-operated online lottery tickets. The decision was made to combat the decrease in lottery ticket sales.


Japan Times published a report mentioning that the popular Jumbo Takarakuji series, the Takarakuji tickets, the Numbers series, and the Loto series will soon be available for sale online. The Jumbo Takarakuji series is an extremely popular lottery in Japan that offers JPY1 billion (US$9.2 million) jackpot.


An official from the internal affairs ministry told the media that the move was a way to boost the sales figures for lottery tickets. The numbers, so far, have been quite unimpressive. After peaking in 2005 to almost JPY1.1 trillion ($9.19 billion), lottery ticket sales in the country have only slowed down. In 2016, the total sales figure was estimated to be around JPY845 billion ($7.77 billion).


Limited operations to blame


Upon conducting an investigation, it was found that the reduction in the operations of lottery outlets inside train stations was the root cause of the slowdown. Traditionally, such outlets were responsible for almost 93% of the total lottery ticket sales.


The ministry then came up with the solution of selling tickets online to combat the slowdown in physical sales. Online sale was chosen as it proved to be more flexible. Customers can purchase tickets at any time, without having to step out.


It is also being seen as a move that would attract the current generation, which has shown the same level of enthusiasm towards lottery. Statistics indicate that lottery still remains a domain of the older generations. Around 60% of the patrons are aged above 50.


But, the online sales move is predicted to bring in about 500,000 fresh users.


Internal affairs minister Seiko Noda stated that earlier efforts to attract the younger generation failed and the move to online sales seemed like the only solution that could work.


Restrictions on Pachinko to stay


While the country aims to solve the slump in lottery sales, it has decided to adopt a harder stance on Pachinko. Next month, regulations are likely to get more stringent.


According to reports from Union Gaming, the local pachinko regulator, restrictions will get tougher as soon as the integrated resorts legislation passes through. In fact, the tightening of restrictions is being seen as a positive indicator of the bill’s survival.


However, the tighter regulations will be detrimental to operators like Dynam Japan, which has already experienced a 1.2% decline in the 2017-18 period. With the new rules, the decline is likely to get worse.

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