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South Korean lottery spending up 7.2%

South Korean households spent a monthly average of 7.2 percent more on lottery tickets last year, compared with the previous year, data from the Korean Statistical Information Service showed Tuesday.

Korean households each spent a monthly average of 590 won ($0.52) on lottery tickets last year, according to Kosis.

The data also took households that didn’t purchase lottery tickets into account, in calculating the average figure.

The increase in lottery ticket spending came amid a record-high slump in the households’ overall consumption due to COVID-19 pandemic woes.

South Korean households‘ consumption expenditures fell 2.3 percent on-year in 2020, marking the steepest drop since the government began collecting the data in 2006.

“The average 590 won spending per household on lottery tickets could be seen as a large spending amid a decline in overall consumption expenditures,” a Statistics Korea official said.

Of income groups, the lowest 20 percent spent the most on lottery ticket purchases, with their average total spending gaining 45.3 percent in the cited period. The top 20 percent, however, also gained 44.8 percent in the same period.

Households usually flock to lottery tickets in times of economic crises. Asia’s fourth-largest economy shrank 1 percent on-year last year, with exports hit by the pandemic.

Sales of Lotto, the most popular offline lottery ticket here, jumped 9.3 percent on-year to a record 4.7 trillion won, Finance Ministry data showed.

A government survey of 1,020 citizens aged 19 or older showed that 56.9 percent of the respondents purchased lottery tickets in 2020. Some 23.7 percent of the respondents purchased lottery tickets once a month, while 21.8 percent made purchases once a week.

By Jung Min-kyung (