Minors, or people under the age of 18, are not being kept from buying lottery tickets at lottery retailers. The Consumers’ Foundation has asked the Taiwan Lottery Co to help deal with the serious Taiwanese obsession of playing the lottery.
An investigation conducted by the Consumers’ Foundation found that lottery retailers are selling lottery tickets to minors, despite Public Welfare Lottery regulations prohibiting minors from purchasing lottery tickets or claiming prize money. During a recent covert survey, the foundation sent junior high and elementary school students to 80 different lottery retailers to buy lottery tickets, and not one of them was turned away. Roughly 98 percent of the retailers sold tickets to the minors without asking any questions pertaining to age, and only 80 percent of the retailers had signs at the entrance or inside their stores saying you must be at least 18 years old to purchase lottery tickets or claim prize money.
Lottery stand businesses always thrive during the Lunar New Year. The Consumers’ Foundation recently received a complaint from one parent who saw a child buying lottery tickets from a lottery retailer, which prompted the foundation to send out undercover junior high school and elementary school students to purchase lottery tickets. The results of the survey showed that only one retailer had qualms about selling lottery tickets to a minor, but, even so, he assumed that an adult customer standing behind the child was the child’s parent and still sold the tickets to the student without verifying his age.
According to the law, retailers selling lottery tickets to minors can be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$250,000, and the price of the ticket and amount won must be claimed as profits for the Public Welfare Lottery. Although the regulations are clear, retailers are still not complying with the law. The survey showed that the only two retailers who made age inquiries still sold the lottery tickets to the minors.
National Treasury Agency Deputy Director-General Chen Hsueh-hsiang says that the agency will continue enhancing its training and oversight programs. The Taiwan Lottery Co, on the other hand, says it places the utmost importance on the issue and will be working hard to improve the effectiveness of its training, ensuring that retailers do not sell lottery tickets or allow prizes to be claimed by minors, adding that if a retailer is not able to determine whether a person is at least 18 years old, they should ask for identification. The company says that it will also revoke retailers’ lottery licenses if they are caught selling lottery tickets to minors.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)