Lottery vendors feeling the pinch

Lottery vendors feeling the pinch

Lottery vendors in Nakhon Ratchasima and Uthai Thani have complained of dwindling sales after the state's online lottery service was launched, wooing away their customers.

Vendors peddling lottery tickets at stalls say sales have tumbled since online lottery sales started last week with tickets going for the legal price of 80 baht apiece. In central Nakhon Ratchasima, customers have visibly thinned around the lottery stands on Chomphol Road, one of the province's biggest lottery vending locations. Some vendors barely sold a ticket yesterday.

The customers have switched to buying the tickets online since they are cheaper and more convenient. Suphiab Aosanthia, 67, a lottery vendor on Chomphol Road, said the stands were usually teeming with customers especially around the beginning and the middle of each month, the two lottery draws.

She said that before the online lottery was introduced, many customers would come a few days before a draw to look for their preferred numbers. They avoid searching for the numbers too close to the draw, fearing the numbers might be taken.

"Now it's gone all quiet here. It's never been this quiet before. Frankly, the vendors are worried we might not sell a single ticket," Ms Suphiab said.

If the sale slump continues longer, she might have to offload the tickets at a heavy discount. "I might have to put them up for 50-60 baht each. It's better than getting nothing out of it," she added. She called on the government to stop the online lottery sale as it leaves the vendors in dire straits.

In Uthai Thani's Thap Than district, vendors outside Wat Nong Kadee Nok in tambon Nong Yai Ta were weighing in on how many lottery tickets they will buy for sale at their stalls for the next draw. The vendors agreed the stalls can be swamped with customers who also come to the temple for a visit. Many customers did not mind paying more than 80 baht, they claimed. After the online lottery was opened, the vendors have begun to feel the heat.

As of midday yesterday, 4,080,643 online lottery tickets had been snapped up by 983,296 buyers.

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