PM Prayut eyes plan to reduce price of lottery

File photo of Thailand's Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday after chairing a Cabinet meeting that he hoped the price of government lottery could be reduced; however, related laws would have to be studied before lottery machines could be introduced.

The Cabinet approved an amendment to the Government Lottery Office Act of 1974 prohibiting vendors from selling lottery tickets above the recommended price.

"The overall amendment of the lottery act will be completed within six months. What we want to do is not to promote gambling, but to fix the price of lottery tickets at Bt80 a pair," he said.

The Finance Ministry proposed the draft bill to make the law more modern and concise.

It covers the launch of lottery products, the management of the lottery ticket distribution system and revenue allocated to the government, which will be reduced from 28 per cent to 20 per cent. The prize money will remain at 60 per cent.

It will allow the Government Lottery Office to be more flexible in distributing lottery tickets and limit the influence of vendors.

It also addresses social concerns, such as keeping children and youths out of the lottery trade, banning the sale of lottery tickets to buyers under 20 years of age and barring ticket sales at schools and nearby locations.

The draft amendment bill will now be forwarded to the Council of State for legal review within three months.

As the latest lottery quotas allocated by the Government Lottery Office expire this August or September, the revamp of quota allocations is now underway to cover more stakeholders, such as upcountry vendors and convenience stores, to ensure that the public can buy lottery tickets at a reasonable and fair price.

Meanwhile, a source from Loxley Plc said yesterday the company was ready to audit and install the software system to sell lottery tickets.

In 2005, Loxley subsidiary Loxley GTECH Technology signed a contract with the Government Lottery Office to provide Online Lottery System Services.

"We can make lotteries with two, three or six digits, but need about 90-120 days to improve all the automatic lottery vending machines sold as it has been 10 years since the company signed a contract with the government," said the source.

He added that about 6,000 lottery vending machines could be installed for dealers.