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Lottery companies cash in as China raises bet on punters

06
Jan
2014

By Farah Master HONG KONG (Reuters) – Every day during his lunch break, Chinese businessman Shen Bin buys three lottery tickets for about 33 cents apiece and then watches to see if his chosen numbers flash across television screens suspended from the ceiling. Half a world away in New York, investors in Chinese online lottery platform 500.com Ltd have found their own winning ticket: the stock has nearly tripled from its $13 initial public offering price in the six weeks since its New York Stock Exchange debut. 500.com, the only Chinese lottery firm so far listed in the United States, is among a handful of listed companies that stand to benefit as China whittles down thousands of private lottery operators to a handful of licensed and regulated firms serving more than 400 million punters, say industry experts. “Over the next five years it is very clear that the Chinese market will continue to grow very quickly and the government regulatory regime will become more open and transparent,” said Zhengming Pan, chief financial officer at 500.com.

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