January 28, 2016 11:07
Sales of lottery tickets hit an 11-year high last year.
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Wednesday, sales of Lotto tickets totaled W3.26 trillion in 2015, up 6.8 percent from the previous year and the highest since 2004 when W3.3 trillion worth were sold (US$1=W1,203).
The lottery began here in 2002 and total sales amounted to W3.8 trillion in 2003. But as concerns grew over the highly speculative nature of lottery tickets, the government slashed the prize money. As a result, Lotto sales fell to less than W3 trillion in 2005 and continued to shrink.
But after the global financial crisis in 2008, sales started to rise again. In 2008, they totaled W2.28 trillion and surpassed W3 trillion in 2014. This trend confirms that Lotto sales are inversely proportionate to the economy.
A finance ministry official said, "We opened 346 new ticket booths, which probably had an effect."
Experts say a growing number of people seem to be pinning their hopes on the jackpot amid a tough job market and increasing jitters over job security.
"People turn to Lotto tickets as an escape from reality and dream of striking it rich," said Chun Sung-in at Hongik University.
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