BEIJING, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- China's welfare lottery sales topped 217 billion yuan (33 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, an increase of 5.1 percent year on year.
The lottery raised more than 62 billion yuan for public welfare funds last year, according to a statement by the welfare lottery distribution and management center.
The center is administered by the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which has been authorized to raise welfare funds through lottery sales since 1987.
From 1987 to 2017, welfare lottery sales totaled more than 1.8 trillion yuan, raising 537 billion yuan in public welfare funds, figures from the center show.
According to current rules, half of the welfare proceeds go to the state coffer, and these funds are mainly used to supplement social security and special aid projects. The other half support social welfare and charities managed by local governments.