The Taipei Fubon Bank said yesterday that 86 percent of the first-day sports lottery sales were on baseball games, largely because of the fact that the New York Yankees’ Taiwanese starting pitcher Wang Chien-ming (王建民) was scheduled to pitch in their game against the Seattle Mariners on Friday night in the US.
The Yankees beat the Mariners 5-1. Through the game, Wang also secured his sixth win of the season, allowing only three hits and one run in six innings.
For the game between the Yankees and the Mariners, the bank set the odds for both teams at 9/5 and it only allowed customers to bet on the winning margin.
If a customer put NT$1,000 on the game and bet that the Yankees would win by four points, the customer would have received NT$1,800 yesterday.
The bank said sales of the sports lottery on Friday had topped NT$7.88 million (US$262,666). In addition, 12 percent of the sales were on basketball games, whereas only 2 percent were for soccer matches.
Chang Feng-feng (張芬芬), director general of the general planning department at the Sports Affairs Council, said the bank only had about 150 retail stores ready for Friday’s launch, which might explain why there were so few customers.
“On the other hand, we only estimated the market for the sports lottery to be about 20 percent to 25 percent of that for the public welfare lotteries,” Chang said. “People betting on the sports lottery are essentially different from people who buy the public welfare lotteries.”
Unlike the public welfare lotteries, people can bet on three different types of sports with six different betting options. And apart from pure luck, if the punter has at least some knowledge of the particular sport then the chance of winning should be increased.
Toby Lee (李建明), a baseball fan, said he was interested in buying the sports lottery but he did not know where to buy one and how to bet.
Chang said she believed the bank would evaluate its performance and figure out ways to reach out to more target customers.
She said the bank was modifying its computer program to incorporate baseball games in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) and they will be added to the list of betting items in August.
“The CPBL allows games to end in a draw, which is different from overseas games,” she said.