HKJC Lotteries is operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club and offers the Mark Six lottery game. It is one of the most popular games in the world and has a jackpot that can reach millions of dollars. Players choose six numbers from a pool of 1 to 49. A machine automatically picks the winning numbers and pays out prizes based on those results.
Those hoping to win the jackpot must match all six numbers and the bonus number. In addition, there are seven prize levels that can be won. The prize levels range from cash to cars and other luxury items. Players can also use the Quick Pick facility to have a computer randomly select all the numbers for them. This option is similar to the “Lucky Dip” feature found in European and USA lottery games.
A new twist has been added to the lottery craze: smugglers have begun trying to smuggle Mark Six tickets into Macau and mainland China in what is thought to be a first. A box of 16,000 tickets destined for illegal sale in the two destinations was intercepted by customs officials on a river vessel while being smuggled into Hong Kong. Customs officers have verified the tickets and found that around 600 of them were already redeemable for prizes worth HK$70,000 or more.
In a similar vein, the government has stepped up its efforts to lure more punters with improved payouts and new products. It is also encouraging companies to offer better distribution channels and make the games easier to control. The Chinese government is particularly concerned about the proliferation of lottery-like games and the growing problem of gambling addiction.
The HKJC, which is known for its horse racing business, has exclusive rights to operate the Hong Kong lottery. Proceeds from the lottery are used for a variety of charitable and community projects. The HKJC Charity Fund is one of the largest in the world and has contributed over HK$200 million to charities and community projects in the past decade alone.
Moreover, the HKJC has made it a point to reduce the minimum unit investment for lottery entries. This is in an effort to cut down on fraudulent activity. It has also increased the maximum prize money for winning the Mark Six jackpot to a record high of HK$10 million.
Some naysayers argue that the Mark Six frenzy is not only giving people false hope but also encouraging youngsters to take up gambling and become addicted. According to Reverand Wu Chi-wai, convener of the Anti-Gambling Coalition, overemphasis on lottery prizes may cause people who do not gamble to think it is quite easy to get lucky and become pathological gamblers. In order to prevent this from happening, responsible betting organizations should not encourage gambling by emphasising the huge prizes. They should also not fan the flames by encouraging people to buy Mark Six tickets. This will only fuel the gambling frenzy. It is important to educate people about the dangers of gambling and its consequences.