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Chinese authorities are hinting that the country could rescind its ‘temporary’ suspension of online lottery sales, nearly three years after online sales were curtailed.

On Tuesday, Spanish gaming regulator Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) posted a notice to its website regarding a bilateral meeting its officials held on Monday with representatives of China’s General Directorate of General Affairs of the Ministry of Finance.

Among other issues, the DGOJ claimed the two nations’ representatives – including DGOJ director general Juan Espinosa Garcia and Chinese commissioner Liu Jinyun (pictured) – had discussed “various aspects related to knowing the control system of lottery activity and other games, particularly in the online context.”

Prior to March 2015, China had allowed two companies – Shanghai Media Group and Nasdaq-listed 500.com – to participate in a ‘pilot program’ to monitor the impact of online lottery sales on the general public. In reality, many other Chinese lottery operators, including tech giant Alibaba, also offered online sports lottery and welfare lottery sales.

But a National Audit Jackpot City Casino Office probe ultimately uncovered widespread fraud at provincial lottery administration centers, including the failure to report a significant portion of online lottery sales and the misallocation or outright disappearance of said funds.

While any developments on this front are encouraging, China has dropped similar hints about lifting its online lottery suspension for a long time now without any tangible progress toward that reality. That said, it’s interesting that the China-Spain talks included talk of “other games” besides the lottery. Outside of the two approved lottery channels, gambling is strictly forbidden on the Chinese mainland.

Meanwhile, China’s online wasteland failed to stop October’s lottery sales rising 8.3% year-on-year to RMB 33.8b (US $4.9b). Figures released by the Ministry of Finance show welfare lottery sales rising 6% to RMB 17.3b while sports lottery figures jumped nearly 11% to RMB 16.5b. For the year-to-date, overall lottery sales are up 6.7% to RMB 323.5b.

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