Lottery ticket vendors stage a protest against the new digital lottery app
With the rush to a digital, and more convenient form, of legal gambling in Thailand, the Government Lottery Office appears to have thrown the lottery ticket vendors under a bus.
Now the ticket vendors are fighting back in a protest calling on the GLO board to resign and increase quotas for the thousands of private citizens and small street-side shops that have been selling their tickets for decades.
Aggrieved vendors swooped on Government House on Monday to petition the government to take action on the GLOs move to sell its millions of lottery tickets on a digital app called Pao Tang. Since its introduction, the GLO has released more and more tickets in a digital version, cutting out the street lottery vendors in the process.
Monday’s protests insisted that the GLO provide a fixed quota of physical tickets to vendors so they could continue doing business. The lottery tickets were usually sold at 70 baht but the GLO claims that some vendors were increasing the government-sanctioned ticket price for special “lucky” tickets.
Jeerasak Noikam, president of the Loei Province Lottery Club, says the GLOs swift move to digital lottery ticket sales hasn’t given the street retailers enough time to adapt or find a new income.
“The government acts like it is saving customers by suppressing overpriced tickets but it is pushing vendors towards disaster. If no one from the House comes out to talk, we will stay there indefinitely.”
In a separate action, another network, Bluedragon Lottery Company, representing small lottery retailers, has lodged another complaint with the Anti-Corruption Division to “review the GLO’s decision to cut the quotas of 50,000 sellers. They’re also questioning the transparency of the e-ticket project and the uncontrolled digital sale of lottery sets to scalpers.
The network complained that many vendors have had their ticket quotas withdrawn, noting that many of them are disabled and they not been given a fair warning or a chance to seek other employment.
A PM’s Office spokesman said he will approach the GLO board to discuss the complaints with the protesters but says that an internal oversight committee hadn’t had any official complaints lodged.
He said he wouldn’t accede to their demands to sack the GLO chief or board. He also noted that the new digital tickets were easier to control, less expensive for the GLO, and weren’t subject to forgery.
The official Thai lottery is held twice a month, usually on the 1st and 16th of every month. Many Thais have their special number selection method whilst others try and pick numbers with their family birthdays.
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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