Thai lottery ban update


Government is already looking at placating supplier for abrogating contract

Despite a still-in-progress review of the Thai online lottery, it appears that the country's prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, has already made the call to abandon the project, introduced by a previous administration.

This week the Bangkok Post quoted the PM as saying that "the rejection of the online lottery was carefully considered."

The report goes on to detail early government moves to find another use for lottery hardware that has already been imported, and possible ways in which the company licensed to operate the lottery, Loxley GTech Technology Co, might be placated for the cancellation.

Ticket machines installed for the aborted online lottery scheme could be put to new use, Vejjajiva told the Post, explaining that the machines could be used to issue regular [non-online] six-digit lottery tickets or mass transit tickets. And he confirmed his government's decision to scrap the online lottery.

A House committee on economic development looked at the proposed alternative uses this week, he revealed.

Trijak Tansupasiri, the chief executive of Loxley GTech Technology Co, which was awarded the contract to run the online lottery, appeared to be waiting to see what compensation government would offer, saying that he was prepared to consider porposals put forward by the government.

He told the newspaper that his company welcomed the prime minister's promise to find a fair solution to the dispute, pointing out that Loxley has invested about 6 billion baht in acquiring and installing 6 000 lottery machines.

Government has yet to present its compensatory plan in detail, with the prime minister saying only that his government would find 'a compromise' with the company in order to avoid potential lawsuits from its decision to scrap the plan. He added that he has told officials to study the lottery contract and look for ways to negotiate with the contractor and compensate the company and its sub-contractors fairly.

"If negotiations can lead to flexibility on compensation, the affected parties may not be compensated in cash," the PM said. "The company may be awarded other projects."

Regarding individuals and companies that had prepared locations for installing the vending machines, the prime minister said these could propose other projects to the government, to make up for the loss of business opportunities.

The software in the vending machines could be adjusted so they could be used to issue bus tickets, six-digit lottery tickets or lottery tickets for the Government Savings Bank, he added.

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