Finance Ministry: State Lottery Creates Jobs, Revenue

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Extra lottery draw to create employment
Lottery announcement in August 2020 (State Lottery of Laos)

The Ministry of Finance has defended its decision to expand the national lottery to three days per week as a means of creating employment and generating revenue for the country.

Minister of Finance, Mr. Bounchom Ubonpaseuth, told the National Assembly on Wednesday that authorities had added a third day of drawings each week.

“The government has increased the number of Lao lottery drawings to three each week in order to promote employment, notably for the handicapped, disabled, and poor. This is also expected to generate income for the government upwards of LAK 80 – 120 billion per year,” Finance Minister Bounchom said.

He argued that Laos had already expanded the national lottery to three days per week in 2016, sold by approximately 15,000-20,000 retail lottery vendors across the country and generating revenue of LAK 80 billion for the government, according to Lao National Radio.

The government decided to decrease the number of lottery drawing days from three to one every week in 2018 due to public protest, with many denouncing the scheme as promoting gambling among vulnerable members of the population.

A roadside lottery vendor
A roadside lottery vendor in Laos, 2016.

Mr. Bounchom says that the state earnings from the national lottery have now dropped from LAK 80 billion to LAK 40 billion, while players continue to illegally enter lotteries in neighboring countries, leading the government to lose 60% of its earnings compared to previous years.

“We have seen that the public’s desire for the lottery remains strong, so we expanded the lottery to twice a week in 2020, resulting in an increase in the number of retail vendors and raising government revenue to LAK 70 billion per year,” said Mr. Bounchom.

The national lottery now draws three days per week and is aired live on television.


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