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GLO Discuss Plans to Pre-bundle Lottery Tickets to Reduce Over-charging in Public Hearing

CityNews – A meeting to discuss new plans to bundle lottery tickets and sell them directly to retailers to help put a stop to lottery vendors over-charging for lottery tickets was held in Chiang Mai this week.

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The Government Lottery Office (GLO) held a public hearing in Chiang Mai on May 8th to discuss the fact that despite three years of enforcement, they had failed to control the price of lottery tickets. By law, lottery tickets cannot be sold at more than 80 baht per ticket, a price reduced by the NPCO after they gained power.

Over 600 people attended the meeting.

GLO spokesperson Thanawat Pholvichai also mentioned that the office had struggled to increase the number of tickets released each fortnight from 37 million to 80 million, amid conflict among civil groups and the government regarding concerns over the impact of gambling on society.

The new proposition by the GLO is to bundle tickets together and sell them directly to retailers, in a bid to overcome the over-pricing seen by regular lottery ticket vendors. The new plan would see five tickets of the same set of six-digit numbers with a chance to win the jackpot prize of 30 million baht (6 million baht per ticket) delivered to retailers who would have the option to sell the tickets as a set or individually.

Many people who attend the public hearing supported the plan to bundle tickets and sell them directly to retailers. Currently, lottery tickets are gathered by middlemen who then bundle the same numbers for re-sale at higher prices. These processes cause the final ticket to be priced higher than 80 baht.

If bundles are sold to retailers, then the role of the middleman would be obsolete, keeping prices down and giving retailers better returns. A representative of a disabled group in Chiang Mai urged the GLO to provide the first sets of bundles to disabled retailers to help them improve their living standards.

However, a group of social activists from Lampang who attend the hearing said that bundling the tickets would not solve the problem of over-pricing, and suggested introducing an online-based lottery instead. Many vendors disagreed with this move as it would see thousands of lottery vendors lose their jobs, including thousands of disabled vendors.

Sawang Kaewkantha, executive director of ThaiCivil Fund Chiang Mai, suggested that along with the changed system, the GLO should better allocate the funds raised, suggesting that because many people who buy tickets are poor, the government should allocate 15 percent of sales to initiatives that help support the poor and low-income groups.

The GLO plans to decide on the ticket-bundling proposition in June after holding further public hearings across the nation.