Tue, Feb 18, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Thousands hope to sell lotto tickets

STAFF WRITER

Several thousand would-be lottery vendors crammed into Taipei City's Ta-an District administration office yesterday to attend a public briefing session on the planned increase of computerized lottery outlets across the country.

The briefing, the first in a series to be held by the TaipeiBank, was to explain to potential vendors the details of the application procedure.

The bank plans to increase the number of lottery outlets to 7,000 from the current 5,000 nationwide.

Since its launch in January last year, the lottery program has proven highly lucrative, with some vendors making as much as NT$10 million per year in commissions.

But not everyone did well. More than 20 vendors have had their licenses revoked for failing to meet the minimum sales requirement of NT$400,000 over six consecutive months.

For most others, however, business has been brisk, generating tremendous interest among potential outlet operators.

At yesterday's session, the administration office was thoroughly overwhelmed by the size of the crowd. Minor quarrels also occurred between police and people who were unable to get into the venue.

Two more briefings were held later yesterday in Chiayi and Ilan. A total of 22 briefings are scheduled through next Monday across the country, including the offshore islands of Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.

TaipeiBank plans to start issuing application forms soon. The license lottery will be held a month after.

Qualified applicants will have to draw lots for a chance to win a vending license. The criteria for qualification include being disabled, an Aboriginal or a low-income single parent.

More than 90 percent of the current 5,000 outlets are run by disabled people.

Lotto expansion

* Taipei City 312

* Taipei County 481

* Taoyuan County 289

* Kaohsiung City 103

* Kaohsiung County 77

* Taichung City 114

* Hualien County 65

* Keelung City 64

* Taichung County 63

* Hsinchu County 49

* Changhua County 45

* Taitung County 44

* Other 295

* Total 2,001


Venders receive an 8 percent commission from ticket sales.

TaipeiBank hopes to reach the sales target of NT$100 billion for this year, which would mean NT$8 billion in commissions for the 7,000 vendors, or an average of more than NT$1 million per vendor.

Richard Yang (楊瑞東), vice president of the TaipeiBank, estimated yesterday that only one in several dozen applicants will win a license.

Taipei City and Taipei County will be awarded 40 percent of the planned new outlets. The two areas currently hold the largest lottery sales records in the country.

Taipei City alone has more than 100,000 registered disabled people as of January.

The city currently has 600 outlets. The number will increase by more than 300 after the planned expansion. The number of outlets in Taipei County will increase by 480.

In addition to the computerized lottery, Taiwan also has a scratch-and-win lottery program.

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