S. Korea’s lottery sales at record high last year as 6 out of 10 buy at least 1 ticket

2020.03.12 11:34:17 | 2020.03.12 12:45:12

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South Korea’s biggest lottery Lotto 6/45 sold record 4.32 trillion won ($3.7 billion) last year, as six out of 10 people bought at least one ticket amid slow economy and easier access to lottery services through addition of online purchasing.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Thursday, Lotto 6/45 sales were estimated at 4.32 trillion won last year, up 8.8 percent from a year earlier.

It is the largest-ever figure surpassing the previous high of 3.97 trillion won in 2018 and breaking the 4 trillion won threshold for the first time. Daily sales amounted to 11.83 billion won last year.

Lottery sales usually surge during an economic downturn. Increase sales outlet and online service also contributed to the spike, the ministry said.

The Korean economy performed at its worst in a decade last year, with gross domestic product (GDP) growth stopping at 2 percent.

In 2019, sales outlets were added by 324 to 6,839 as of December. Online sales that started in December 2018 drew revenue of 43.8 billion won.

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The national lottery Lotto 6/45 started in the latter half of 2002 and achieved over 3.82 trillion won in sales in the following year. On Apr. 12, 2003, a sole winner received a prize jackpot of 40.72 billion won due to the rollover in the previous game, stoking the lottery boom in the country.

Demand slowed after the government imposed a rollover limit and halved the price of a ticket to 1,000 won in 2004.

In a survey by the ministry, 62.4 percent answered they attempted lottery at least for once last year. Considering its popularity, each Korea spent 134,000 won to buy lotteries last year, data showed.

A total of 507 people won the lottery during 52 games and scooped total 1.042 trillion won. The biggest jackpot last year stood at 4.87 billion won for each of four winners at the 861st game, and the smallest at 1.09 billion won for 19 at the 876th.

Excluding the taxes levied on the income, the 19 winners pocketed much smaller than the median price of an apartment in Seoul amounting to 912.16 million won.

By Lee Ha-yeon

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