Thais apply the brakes on online lottery


More detail is needed on a proposed Internet lottery project before the Thai government can give its approval, reports the Bangkok Post this week.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has asked Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij and the Government Lottery Office to clarify certain points of the proposed lottery which were found to be unclear.

It appears that Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Phataraprasit, who supervises the GLO, approved the project to install lottery vending machines and forwarded the plan to his minister for the final imprimatur, but the minister has put a hold on the project pending further information.

In 2005 the GLO hired Loxley GTECH Technology - a joint venture between Loxley and Gtech of the US - to advise on the introduction of an online lottery service.

The Prime Minister's office told the Bangkok Post that government wanted to make sure the arrangements to share the online lottery revenue were in line with the Government Lottery Office Act of 1974. The government must weigh the benefits against the possible social problems which the lottery might create, said a spokesman. It also needs to be sure it will not breach its contract with the company.

''If we want to proceed, we must clear all doubts surrounding the project,'' the Prime Minister's spokesman said.

The online lottery could eat into the popularity of the illegal lottery and boost the state's income. However, the prime minister also wanted to be sure that gambling did not become a national obsession, and that measures were in place to tackle possible adverse consequences.The Surayud Chulanont government halted the lottery operation launched by the Thaksin Shinawatra government because the revenue split did not comply with the law.

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