The Lower House Education Committee approved a soccer lottery bill May 23, paving the way for the implementation of a system to obtain funds from the public to promote sports.

The bill, submitted by a nonpartisan group of lawmakers and supported by non-Communist members of the committee, is expected to clear the Lower House next week and go on to the Upper House. If enacted, sales of lottery tickets will be allowed with bets placed on J. League results. The lottery is expected to be introduced in 1999.

The group of lawmakers estimates that total ticket sales will reach about 180 billion yen a year. Of the amount, 50 percent will be used to fund lottery prizes, 17.5 percent will be used to promote sports, another 17.5 percent will go into the national treasury and 15 percent will be used to cover the lottery’s operating costs.

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