China's Web 2.0 community website Tianya.cn has launched a lottery sales platform, on which users can buy lottery tickets and withdraw lottery prizes via the Internet.
The lottery platform of Tianya.cn not only offers winning information on lotteries, but also provides online purchase services. By recharging their accounts on the website, users can select numbers, buy lottery tickets and withdraw money from their accounts.
However, Tianya.cn's new business has been challenged by Chinese netizens voicing their disapproval online, because according to prior notices published by the Chinese government, it is prohibited to sell lottery items through the Internet. In regards to this issue, a representative from Tianya.cn says that the lottery platform is a cooperation result of Tianya.cn and 500wan.com and it is operated by 500wan.com. The representative emphasizes that 500wan.com has the qualification to sell lottery services and the lottery platform is within the permitted scope of the law.
According to a customer service representative of 500wan.com who spoke with local media, the purchase of lottery services on the platform is actually realized through telephone and the lottery ticket will be printed by terminals. The information that appears on the website is only the visual part of the telephone gambling system. The customer service representative denies that the platform is a type of Internet lottery sales service.
On November 6, 2007, China's Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the General Administration of Sport jointly published a notice to halt the opening of lottery sales websites by non-lottery organizations. The notice emphasized that any lottery should not enter the market without the approval of the Ministry of Finance and any unit or individual, with exception of the lottery organization approved by the national government, should not sell lottery services through the Internet.
On January 2, 2008, the ministries released another notice, which said all lottery websites, no matter operated by lottery organizations or not, should suspend sales of lottery services through the Internet.