Jan 12, 2018 in Research

Underground Lotteries in China

The author states that ‘Lottery fever’ has hit and spread to different areas of contemporary China, known as ‘Liuhecai’ corresponding to the name of Hong Kong’s Lottery. Unlike authorized state lottery participation, it is a play in a variant of underground lotteries, which is both deeply rooted and widespread. However, it is common to find participation in illegal gambling in China. The unique aspect is its level of influence and its social character of play all over the state. The author uses the lotteries to show Capitalism in China’s financial system as exemplified in gambling.

The author gives three reasons explaining the rise and popular influence that include, the belief in its rigged nature, and thus one can successfully pre-divine the right number and emerge the winner, those ‘odds’ presented are not attractive, thus is presence of economic irrationality in the participation of local entrepreneurial and skilled industrial people. The last one is the resemblance in character, practices and terminologies of this type of lottery, its similarity to the existent Taiwanese lottery quite vivid. Of fascination is the emergence of these lotteries in both legal entities, its influence is unabated by two ideologically divergent states (Bosco, Liu, & West, 2009).

The author states that Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons and nights are spent by sorting through a range of hints, signs and drawings gathered to aid in the proper identification of the bonus number. People from various occupations do participate in this lottery. The actual number drawn elicits various discussions as to the near success of people in identifying it. Its popularity is especially rife in both peri-urban and rural areas due to its lack of attraction because it is public by nature and it is in contrast to the urban areas, where secrecy is the rule of the game. The rural places experience a different kind of capitalism compared to the urban places. This type of financial capitalism has affected the urban areas in complex ways (Bosco, Liu, & West, 2009).

The author differentiates between the two aforementioned lotteries. While Hong Kong’s Mark 6 comprises of 49 numbers from which betters pick six numbers, in addition to the bonus one, rural China’s version entails the picking of only the bonus number. A unique character of China’s version is that it relies on Hong Kong only for the number’s picking/ drawing. Local bookies, who in turn are linked to other bigger (financially) bookies, pay the prize monies (either losses got or profits realized) (Bosco, Liu, & West, 2009).

The Lottery games show the difference between China’s financial system and the western financial system. Despite being ideally the same, China’s version is unique further due to the myriad of ways through which one can identify and therefore win the bet. There is the betting on the bonus number itself. The most common ways include choosing the ball’s color that provides a 1 in 3 chance of success, the ‘odd-even’ betting method (where betters only need to identify if the number is even or odd), and, lastly, the ‘combined odd-even’ betting method (which combines odd and even numbers present from 1-49) (Bosco, Liu, & West, 2009).

Excitement caused by speculation in addition to playing around with fate, is the main understanding with which persons engage in this statistically proven loss-making activity. Through acceptance of its rigged nature, gamblers believe there is present a number of hints and patterns which may aid one in achieving a win. They do not distinguish between their gambling and investment (touzi); instead terming it as a risk-taking activity, as is investing under the Capitalist system (Bosco, Liu & West, 2009).

The lottery represents the financial system in china that is very different from the western countries. The constant talk about the lottery and betting is almost viral in nature, as it seems to attract more people to it, the odds of winning being very low notwithstanding. Uniquely, betting in this lottery is based more on the aspects of luck (yunqi) and cleverness/ skill (jiqiao), as opposed to the fate. The presence of hints and charts adds to the group/ crowd experience of risk seeking, as bookies are involved in their production and sale. The system is successful, though illegal and therefore ‘underground’ due to the honesty of local bet collectors, whose chief function is ‘transfer’ of money between their employers (the bookies), and their clients (the gamblers) (Bosco, Liu, & West, 2009). The author uses the lotteries and gambling to show the unfairness of China’s present Capitalism as seen in its financial system.

Important questions arise from the article. Why is it that this form of betting is more common and spreading at the rate it is? Are there fundamental differences between risk takings, as espoused in Capitalist ventures, and betting, as espoused in the above? Why is a marked rise in both proportions of gamblers within rural China vis-à-vis Taiwan present? Are the hints, diagrams and charts manipulative tools or do they function in aiding the gamblers make the right choices? What does the Lottery Fever say about china?

The betting culture is further enhanced by Chinese desire for material wealth, with Chinese family units espousing functional firms, where different members perform different duties with the aim of collectively advancing themselves. I may put it as intensification in the Chinese spirit of entrepreneurship to the point where it goes awry. Just like in China’s financial capitalism, contemporary factors are fundamental influences on the betting culture, as a result of rising levels of frustration and inequality as espoused by the majority of the citizens who view the rich and powerful as having utilized connection in their quests for riches. Through such means, aided by both luck and cleverness, the majority of the poor are thus able to hope for a brighter and more prosperous future (Bosco, Liu, & West, 2009).

Compared to Casino Capitalism, the article tells of a form of capitalism that has risen in China. Both Casino Capitalism and the Underground Lotteries in China represent the type of financial system that has arose in China depicting it as gambling and as a form of the new Capitalism. The financial arena has become like Casinos and Lotteries where rules favor those who win. Material wealth has become so important that people no longer care about morality or the legality of their actions as long as it benefits them financially. As such, there are people who suffer because of this type of capitalism whereas others benefit.

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