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Underground lotteries in China: the occult economy and capitalist culture

Economic Development, Integration, and Morality in Asia and the Americas

ISBN: 978-1-84855-542-6, eISBN: 978-1-84855-543-3

Publication date: 19 May 2009

Abstract

A little-known “lottery fever” has spread to many parts of rural China over the past 10 years. This is driven by participation in underground lotteries with local bookies. It is called liuhecai, which is the name of the Hong Kong lottery, and is based on guessing the bonus number of the Hong Kong Mark Six lottery. Such lotteries are illegal, but are an open secret. This chapter seeks to understand the meaning of this apparently irrational lottery fever: why people participate in it, why they believe the conspiracy theory that it is rigged (and yet still participate), and why similar lotteries have emerged in both capitalist Taiwan and post-socialist China at this particular time.

Citation

Bosco, J., Huwy-Min Liu, L. and West, M. (2009), "Underground lotteries in China: the occult economy and capitalist culture", Wood, D.C. (Ed.) Economic Development, Integration, and Morality in Asia and the Americas (Research in Economic Anthropology, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 31-62. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0190-1281(2009)0000029004

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited