BUSINESS

Thailand mulls launching regional lottery to aid disaster-hit neighbors

TAGs: Apirat Kongsompong, ASEAN Economic Community, Goverment Lottery Office, Jasmine Solana, Lottery, thailand

It’s for the greater good.

Thailand mulls launching regional lottery to aid disaster-hit neighborsThe government of Thailand is weighing on the possibility of launching a lottery to help disaster-hit member countries of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), local media reported.

According to the Bangkok Post, the lottery, if it pushes through, will feature jackpot prizes similar to lotteries in western countries. The tickets will be sold in all AEC member countries.

Apirat Kongsompong, chairman of the Government Lottery Office (GLO) board, told the news outlet “the proceeds may be used to help member countries when disasters strike.”

“We will explore the types of lotteries currently sold in ASEAN and the possibility of cooperating with our neighbors to launch a regional lottery like in Europe,” the GLO board chairman said, according to the report.

The agency is also considering adding new products, such as online lottery, which will require several changes to the current Thai law. Among the changes will include additional discounts for vendors as well as a “new proportion of revenue contributions to state coffers and overcharging penalties, Apirat noted.

In addition, the GLO board chairman said they also hope to include a new provision that will punish middlemen who will be found guilty of manipulating prices. If all goes well, such middlemen will face a one-year jail term and a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht—the same maximum punishment for sellers.

But first, the office must make changes to the outdated 1974 law, so that it will be “in line with the orders issued under Section 44 of the 2014 interim charter,” according to the report. The existing law doesn’t carry penalties for middlemen.

Apirat said the proposed amendments are tabled for cabinet consideration over the next three months.

Along with horseracing, the lottery is the only form of gambling officially tolerated in Thailand. In 2014, the military junta ordered all lottery tickets to be sold at their 80 baht (US$2.50) list price, but dealers wound up paying more than the listed price. Unable to turn a profit, dealers canceled their orders from wholesalers, prompting the junta to suspend the price-cap plan amid calls for changes to the lottery system, which include doing away with middlemen entirely by distributing western-style electronic lottery terminals.

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