China’s central authorities issued an order at the end of February demanding all provincial and municipal governments report the status of their online lottery sales ahead of March 1st. The new regulation has thus lead to the suspension of lottery sales on nearly 40 websites across China, including major ones like Alibaba’s Taobao, Tencent, NetEase, and Sina’s Aicai,.

500.com, one of the only two entities Beijing has officially authorized to participate in an online sports lottery pilot program, also halted online lottery sales services. The share price of 500.com plunged after the company announced this.

Buying lottery tickets online has become increasingly popular in China. The country’s lottery sales surged to a record-high of RMB382.3 billion (US$61 billion) in 2014, up 23.6% year-on-year, according to China Sports Lottery Administration Center. Research institute Analysys predicted  that the total online lottery market is expected to reach RMB88.5 billion in 2014, accounting for 22% of total lottery sales in China.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.