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Tax & Revenue

Governmentt orders Cut in Lotteries

Date: 19 August 2017; Type: Tax News; Source: Vientiane Times

The government has called for a cut in several types of lotteries issued by the Lao Development Lottery State Enterprise, including the football lottery, following public complaints about the country having too many lotteries.

Significantly, more complaints emerged after the football lottery was launched in 2014, which people said had resulted in youngsters becoming addicted to gambling.

The Prime Minister's Office issued an announcement on Thursday, asking the Ministry of Finance, which is in charge of managing the Lao Development Lottery State Enterprise, to work with the enterprise to stop the four lotteries immediately.

These are the football lottery, SMS lottery (a lottery purchased via short message service), Pingo Lottery and Loto Lottery.

Pingo Lottery and Loto Lottery were previously granted permission licences but their operation has not been launched. The government has decided to revoke the permission licences.

Additionally, the enterprise was asked to cut issuing the main lottery from twice a week to once a week. The government also said lucky draws for the lottery must be carried out in a transparent manner.

The government told the enterprise to stop printing scratch lotteries (a lottery in which a buyer needs to scratch a ticket to win money), but permitting it to keep selling those already printed. Once all the printed scratch lotteries are sold out, the enterprise is required to summarise a report about the business to the government to seek guidance for its future.

As a number of lottery businesses under the Lao Development Lottery State Enterprise will be stopped in line with the announcement, the enterprise will need to undergo organisational and personnel re-structuring.

In this regard, the government has entrusted the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Somdy Duangdy, to supervise the restructuring of the enterprise.

A source at the Lao Development Lottery State Enterprise said the precise date for stopping the operation of these lotteries has not been set. The source said Ministry of Finance is supposed to issue a ministerial instruction to implement the government's announcement, including detailing the date.

In addition, the government also told the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Security to work with other relevant sectors to address illegal lottery operations, in which neighbouring countries have operated lottery legally in their territories while illegal traders in Laos sell the lotteries on the black market.

On the Lao black market, Thai lottery is sold twice a month, while the Vietnamese lottery is sold every day.

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