Mon, Sep 19, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Sports lottery agrees to suspend some lottery tickets

THE RIGHT CHOICE?The alleged culprit has already returned the money, but the company decided not to press charges out of concern for his career

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Taiwan Sports Lottery Corp (運彩科技), a subsidiary of Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), said yesterday it would suspend sales of problematic sports lottery tickets in the face of a fraud investigation, company executives said.

The company and its parent group offered an apology for the scandal and promised to remedy the alleged wrongdoing by employee Lin Hao-chin (林昊縉).

“We will suspend sales forthwith of sports lottery products that allow winning betters to divide the sweepstakes among themselves,” Taiwan Sports Lottery president Paul Chai (翟小璧) told a press conference, accompanied by Fubon Financial president Victor Kung (龔天行).

Chai said his company offers two categories of sports lottery products — one promises a fixed cash prize and the other allows winning betters to divide the sweepstake.

The troubled “Da San Yuan” (大三元) and “Da Si Xi” (大四喜) on which Lin allegedly bet unfairly in July and last month fell into the latter category, Chai said.

A preliminary internal probe showed Lin’s actions were the only such occurrence since the products were launched in September last year, Chai said.

Sports lotteries with fixed prizes are the company’s main line of products, accounting for more than 99 percent of revenue, company data showed.

Sales of sports lotteries with fixed-ratio prizes totaled NT$1.37 billion (US$46.44 million) last month, while bet-dividing lottery products accounted for NT$8.8 million, according to Taiwan Sports Lottery.

“We will not put problematic lottery tickets back on the shelves before we can make ensure the game is fair,” Chai said.

The company would conduct a thorough review of related products from their production to their sale, Chai said.

Denying earlier claims that Lin had won NT$2.3 million, Taiwan Sports Lottery said he had won NT$520,000, and has repaid this amount to the company.

The company added that it had decided not to press charges because of concerns about his career.

However, the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office launched an investigation into the case on Saturday.

“Taiwan Sports Lottery regrets that decision, which failed to factor in its impact on the company’s reputation and public sentiment,” the company said in a statement.

To make up for Lin’s alleged misdeeds, the company has tried to contact 34 winning ticket holders whose prizes were reduced by Lin’s actions and offered them further prizes ranging from NT$3,000 to NT$130,000, in line with their tax records, the statement said.

Another 124 winners, whose prizes fell below taxation requirements, could contact the company and divide an extra NT$4,276 between them the statement said.

Taiwan Sport Lottery promised to strengthen internal management and personnel training to prevent a recurrence of irregularities and rebuild public confidence in sports lottery products, Chai said.

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