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​American-style computerized lottery firm loses its appeal in Vietnam

Saturday, September 08, 2018, 10:27 GMT+7

Vietlott, the American-style lottery firm that was once a headline-grabber upon its debut in Vietnam in 2016, no longer attracts prominent notice as their business gets gloomy.

As the first computerized lottery program in the country, Vietlott, run by a Vietnam-Malaysia joint venture, used to be a craze among Vietnamese luck-seekers, particularly thanks to its frequent announcements of special jackpot winners.

Vietlott once shocked the local public after giving jackpot prizes to three winners within just one month shortly after its launch.

However, it appears that the company has declined from its heyday as its revenue per sale agent is shrinking, despite expanding to new markets, news website Zing reported.

On average, one outlet of Vietlott collected more than VND4 million (US$172) from ticket sales per day in May 2017, according to data provided by a representative of the company. The figure has slid to VND2.7 million ($116).

“Ticket sales are getting harder, because the jackpot is not as high as before, and people are not curious anymore with Vietlott,” said X. Thanh, owner of a Vietlott's agent in Thuong Dinh Ward, Thanh Xuan District, Hanoi.

The seller did not reveal any detailed numbers, but said his income from selling Vietlott tickets is declining and his family now heavily relies on their other business – running a grocery store.

Another indicator of Vietlott entering a period of gloom is the decrease in customer interest for this type of lottery.

According to Google Trends, a tool Google uses to analyze the popularity of top search queries in its search engine, the keyword ‘Vietlott’ has the lowest level of interest since the first time it was searched.

What’s worse, the phrase ‘XSKT,’ a Vietnamese abbreviation for traditional lottery, has surpassed the keyword ‘Vietlott’ in popularity for the first time in early September.

Still making profit

Although the company’s honeymoon phase appears to be over, Vietlott still reports a profitable performance in the year to date. But this has little to do with sales.

Vietlott recorded a revenue of VND1,883 billion ($80.97 million), of which 97 percent came from two types of lottery programs, Mega 6/45 and Power 6/55, in the first half of this year, according to a company report.

The total revenue has increased sharply over the same period of 2017.

The business’ costs for prize money and prize provision in this period is VND1,285 billion ($55,26 million), up VND250 billion ($10.75 million) over the same period last year.

In addition, some of the company's main expenses such as agent commissions, investment cost also soared, together with the hike of corporate management cost.

Vietlott also counts unclaimed prizes, those that winners did not come to receive after 60 days as per the regulations, as a source of revenue. This kind of earnings in the first half of this year tripled year-on-year to VND116 billion ($4.99 million).

Thanks to the spike in this source of revenue, Vietlott's profit has reached VND210 billion ($9.03 million), far exceeding the target of VND142 billion ($6.12 million) that the company had set.

But analysts believe that in the longer term, Vietlott may need a new product that is more sustainable, instead of relying on earnings from unpaid jackpot like this, to get rid of its gloomy situation.

Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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