Higher prize payout rates introduced over the summer helped Taiwan Sports Lottery recoup losses from earlier in the year

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Sports lottery sales end year down 11% PLANNING PAID OFF: Higher prize payout rates introduced over the summer helped Taiwan Sports Lottery recoup losses from earlier in the year, when there were few games

Even though the COVID-19 pandemic caused many professional sports events around the world to be canceled or postponed, the nation’s sports lottery sales last year generated revenue of NT$40.5 billion (US$1.42 billion), thanks to a contingency plan enacted by the Sports Administration in March.

Agency statistics showed sales revenue in 2019 reached NT$41.6 billion, while the pandemic caused the revenue to drop by about 11 percent.

Sports lotteries in Japan, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, the Philippines and China all reported much larger declines in sales during the first three quarters of the year, ranging from 30 to 60 percent, the Sports Administration said.

The US National Basketball Association (NBA) on March 12 announced that it was indefinitely postponing its games, and professional leagues around the world soon followed suit, the agency said.

That led the Sports Administration to implement a contingency plan on March 16 to minimize the pandemic’s impact on sports lottery sales.

First, it allowed people to bet on professional sports games that had not been disrupted by the pandemic, including those in Central and South America and Africa, as well as electronic sports leagues, the agency said.

Second, the reserve fund for liability was capped at NT$700 million so that people could engage in single game betting or live betting in some of the popular events, the agency said.

Third, as major professional sports leagues resumed games over the summer, contractor Taiwan Sports Lottery introduced betting schemes with higher prize payout rates, the agency said.

That move effectively made up for lost sales during the first half of the year, it said.

Between March 17 and Dec. 31, Taiwan Sports Lottery offered a total of 28,909 games for betting, creating sales revenue of NT$31.9 billion, the agency said.

More than 1,500 sports lottery retailers nationwide also benefited, receiving a total of about NT$199.77 million in commissions, it said.

“We thank the Sports Administration for enforcing the contingency plan and offering relief funds to sports lottery retailers during this difficult time. We continue to improve our service to help the nation expand the economies of scale for sports industry,” Taiwan Sports Lottery said.