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Chinese Lottery Leader 500.com Files for U.S. IPO

Jon C. Ogg

Playing the lottery is popular all over the world. It is huge in the United States and other nations, but now the United States will get to see just how big the lotto is in China as well. A company called 500.com Ltd. has filed its paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that will allow it to come public in an initial public offering (IPO).

500.com claims to have had the largest market share in the online sports lottery in China in the first half of 2013, and it said it had the second largest market share in 2012 in terms of the purchase amount of sports lottery products.

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The filing said:

We act as an aggregator and processor of lottery purchase orders from our registered user accounts and currently derive substantially all of our revenues from service fees paid to us by provincial sports lottery administration centers for the purchase orders of sports lottery products that we direct to such centers.

The company also says that it was among the first companies to provide online lottery services in China, and that it is one of the only two entities authorized by the Ministry of Finance to provide online lottery sales services on behalf of the China Sports Lottery Administration Center.

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The brand name is 500wan, which means "five million" in Chinese, and it is the typical amount of top prizes of most lottery products in China.

We would point out that the company's IPO filing did show a decrease in the active accounts during some reported periods, and net revenue was listed as being down 26% from 2011 to 2012.

The offering is for up to $150 million, and 500.com plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the WBAI stock ticker. Deutsche Bank Securities has been hired as the bookrunner, and Piper Jaffray was listed also in the syndicate.

24/7 Wall St. has issued a 12-step program for What to Do (and Not Do) If You Win the Lottery. This is a must-read for anyone who comes into vast sums of money overnight via a lottery winning, legal judgment or settlement, or even an unexpected inheritance. We also have shown how one lottery is now $216 million, but the lottery spending by the public was $53 billion per year in the United States. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance in China also showed that lotto sales in China were about $36 billion during the first nine months of the year.

Here is 500.com's full SEC filing.

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