Lottery ticket sales topped $2 billion by the end of June, or a 15-year high, in South Korea as virus-led blues sent people daydreaming of a jackpot.
Lottery sales reached 2.6 trillion won ($2.21 billion) in the first half, up 11 percent and highest since 2005, according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance on Wednesday.
The national lottery Lotto made up the majority of sales at 2.31 trillion. It was followed by print lotteries at 186.3 billion won, pension-type lotteries at 85.5 billion won and electronic lotteries at 40.8 billion won.
Pension-type lotteries particularly jumped 68.2 percent from the previous year to hit an eight-year high. They drew more people this year after upping the No. 1 prize money to 7 million won from 5 million, their first adjustment since their release nine years ago.
The payout option for the No. 2 winner, which had previously been a lump-sum payment of 100 million won, was also changed to a 10-year monthly annuity of 1 million won.
Such lottery annuities, in which winners are guaranteed a steady stream of monthly payouts for a 20-year period, were first introduced in Korea in 2011.
Annuity lotteries gained instant popularity upon their launch, generating 100 billion in sales in the first half 2012. But demand for lump-sum payments soon took over, pushing down annuity sales to 68.1 billion won in the first half of 2013 and 47.8 billion won in 2014. They brought in just 50.8 billion won in the first half of 2019.
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