BEIJING, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — “Did you buy a lottery ticket tonight?”, “Brazil’s team was the biggest loser; let’s go to the roof (to commit suicide)!” During the World Cup this year, similar talk in China became hot topics on Weibo, WeChat and other social networking platforms.
According to Statistics from Caitongcs, an Internet-based lottery consulting company, since the World Cup in Brazil opened, one of the most popular lotteries by sales, a guessing-type lottery (hereinafter referred to as “SMG”), kept hitting record highs by single-day sales. As of last week, total sales of the World Cup SMG were approached RMB10 billion. Among these, purchases through the Internet and mobile terminals accounted for 70%. And the latest data shows that the World Cup has driven China SMG sales to soar by 400%.
Obviously, Chinese people are almost crazy for the World Cup.
World Cup drives Chinese Lottery
In China’s capital, Beijing, the subway, an important transportation tool for people, carries more than ten million passengers every day. On the armrests of subway cars and advertising spaces of automatic doors, several lottery companies have been waging an advertising war since long before the World Cup: One lottery company launched brand promotion on all trains and called themselves “The World Cup Series”, while another lottery company incorporated a photo of one of its employees into a poster to greet passengers.
Even during the World Cup, in the Worker’s Stadium, which is more beautiful in the night, and the bars in Sanlitun, lottery business advertising and marketing channels can be found everywhere. In a bar at the north gate of the Beijing Worker’s Stadium, before the start of the match, guests can readily conduct quiz-betting for their favorite team by scanning a two-dimensional code from one lottery app, while in the hall downstairs, fans and their female friends can watch the games for free.
“Oh, the Argentina team finally lost. My 50 yuan is gone!” On the morning of July 14, Gao Yuan, a white-collar worker in Beijing, watched the finals between Germany and Argentina.
To Gao Yuan, who had never participated in an SMG before, the topics discussed on various networking platforms since the start of the World Cup moved him.
Like Gao Yuan, during the World Cup in Brazil, more than 10,000 Chinese people bought lottery tickets over the Internet or though mobile terminals.
Data from the China National Sports Lottery Management Center shows that on the first day of the World Cup, the best-selling lottery SMG saw single-day sales of more than 150 million yuan; and subsequent single-day sales kept hitting new records, with sales of 900 million yuan in 4 days and 4 billion yuan in 9 days after the start of the games, overtaking the total sales of RMB2.3 billion during the World Cup South Africa.
The passion for watching the World Cup in Brazil triggered a huge demand for lotteries. Thus, 2014 is also known as “the first year” of Chinese Internet lottery.
Mobile app narrows the distance between white-collars and the World Cup
Today, with almost everyone having a smartphone, apps have become omnipotent. Reading, entertainment, finding a restaurant, finding parking space, hiring a taxi, apps meet almost all useful or useless demands of life.
During the World Cup this year, the most popular app was undoubtedly the lottery category. Mobile, entertainment, and social networking became common attributes of lotteries with the exception of purchasing of lotteries this summer.
Lottery, as a highly standardized product, supports micro-payment and features a high degree of participation, so it is ideal for mobile users. However, this year, major platforms are eyeing mobile terminals, and in the future mobile terminal competition will become more intense.
Miss Wang Wei is a white-collar worker, and her knowledge of the World Cup is limited to famous players on the Italian and German teams, among others. More than once, she translated her fondness for Casillas, Messi and Mesut Ozil into purchases of football lotteries, and then forwarded it to her girlfriends and other friends through her circle of friends.
A Low threshold for mobile terminals and the convenience of lottery purchasing on mobile terminals attracted a large number of mobile users. We can say that the 2014 World Cup completed EFA (Education for All) of a sports lottery betting for China. Various lottery apps have launched a guess function and designed different gameplays, and almost everyone with a smartphone and consuming capacity can experience the fun of football guessing.
The people who do not know odds, handicapping and other terminologies are mostly young white-collars, and their betting is done only to enjoy the sense of participation or to cheer for their favorite team or player. Meanwhile, the sharing of football betting by these young white-collars covers almost all mobile Internet social networking circles. Moreover, many of them are not football fans, and their purchase of a World Cup lottery is just a behavior to their existence and participation.
And it is right that “participation, existence and sharing” attributes of mobile Internet circles trigger users’ impulse of lottery purchase. Behind this is China’s huge population of smartphone users, which can reach hundreds of millions.
Thanks to big data prediction, football fans no longer have to go to the terrace
The hot sales of football lotteries were supported by lottery buyers and football fans’ willingness to pay. However, they were frequently upset by some teams, and many lottery buyers that strongly supported veteran teams suffered heavy losses. Therefore, “line up on the roof” (meaning committing suicide due to heavy money loss) has become a catchword on the Internet in China in the year 2014.
If we could accurately predict the results of the World Cup tournament, what would happen?
Yes, if it is true, becoming rich overnight will no longer be a dream, and the scene of lining up on the roof probably will not exist. Such imagination actually has become a reality!
The 2014 World Cup in Brazil has become a stage for big data prediction, including Internet players such as Google, Baidu, Microsoft, and Yahoo, investment banks that seem irrelevant to technology such as Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, as well as the news agency Bloomberg. But the result was that large Internet companies using data analysis excelled against investment bankers.
Among them, Baidu and Microsoft not only correctly predicted all the winning national teams of the quarter-finals and semi-finals, but also successfully predicted the victory of Germany in the semifinals when Google and Goldman Sachs predicted the failure of the favorite Brazil team, thus maintaining a 100 % accuracy rate through the knockout stage. This is a huge temptation for those who hope to become rich via the World Cup.
To take Baidu, for example, the company’s senior data scientist team searched the data on 37,000 games attended by the world’s 987 teams in the past five years (including national and club teams). Meanwhile, it cooperated on data with Chinese lottery website 17500.cn and European Betfair Index data provider Spdex to import data estimates of the lottery betting market, and built a prediction model covering 199,972 players and 112 million data entries, and predicted the results on this basis.
The prediction principles of several other companies are also similar, but with some differences in details, which leads to a different focus and very different predictions.
From this we can see that for lottery buyers and football fans, in addition to the winning of their favorite team, football-betting must be their dream for the lifetime, and there is no reason that they do not want to become rich by utilizing big data tools.
In fact, the phenomenon of result prediction based on big data analysis has aroused the attention of the international gaming industry. We can imagine that in the era of big data, when sales performance becomes history, the purchase behavior of billions of lottery buyers still has a high research value.
Just imagine, buying habits in different places and market feedback from different gaming policies, the impact of social events on lottery purchase behaviors… These studies will have a direct impact on the research and development of new games, the laying of new sales channels, and personalized services.
The rapid growth of China’s lottery market has become the best research subject in the eyes of these experts. The more than 300 billion yuan in lottery sales each year bears a huge amount of sales data. However, it remains a blank in terms of detailed processing and analysis of the data and guiding long-term development of the industry.