Tue, Mar 05, 2002 - Page 2 News List

Lottery-ticket sellers fight calls to reduce frequency of draws

By Sandy Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Arguing that proposed changes to the Public Welfare Lottery will threaten their right to work, handicapped lottery ticket vendors yesterday called on the government not to reduce lottery draws to once a week from the current two.

"Public fever over the lottery in its early stages is understandable," said Chen Kun-tsai (陳坤財), representative of a group representing handicapped vendors. "The Ministry of Finance should just let the lottery fever cool down naturally rather than changing its policy."

Chen was referring to a proposal aimed at dissipating public fervor about the lottery that was submitted to the finance ministry by the Legislative Yuan's Finance Committee last week. The proposal asks for the number of drawings to be reduce to one a week.

"Rather than reducing the frequency of lottery draws and putting our jobs in jeopardy, the government should work on ways to achieve the original purpose of the lottery-public welfare -- and enable us to benefit," Chen said at a press conference yesterday. Legislators Lee Ming-hsien (李明憲) and Chien Chao-tung (簡肇棟) of the DPP and Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進) of the KMT called the press conference to address the concerns of the handicapped vendors.

Chen said that by changing lottery policy, the government risked harming the lottery's credibility and may dampen the public's desire to buy lottery tickets.

"This would result in the smothering of our employment opportunities and defeat one of the objectives of the Public Welfare Lottery, which is to benefit the handicapped vendors financially from the profits from ticket sales."

During the press conference, Tseng Kou-lieh (曾國烈), deputy commissioner of the finance ministry's Bureau of Monetary Affairs, said that the decision on whether to reduce the drawings to once a week "has not yet been decided."

"We will take into consideration input from all relevant departments and parties on this issue," Tseng said.

"For now, there will still be two drawings a week."

Meanwhile, the alliance also urged the media to give more coverage to what it called "positive aspects of the lottery rather than negative aspects.

"By focusing a disproportional amount of coverage on the negative sides [of the lottery] and leaving out many of the heart-warming acts and stories, the media is conveying the false impression to the public that the lottery brings only greed and suicides and nothing good to society," Chen said.

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