Fri, Jul 29, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Cabinet officials ponder sponsoring a sports lotto

By Jimmy Chuang and Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Cabinet yesterday proposed holding a sports lotto for professional sports.

"The premier supports the idea. The Cabinet is proposing starting a sports lotto without amending the law. It would be separate from current lotto games," said Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai (卓榮泰).

Cho said the Cabinet welcomed discussions and criticism of the idea from the public before the lotto proposal finalized.

The Ministry of Finance said at a press briefing yesterday that the National Treasury Agency is drawing up plans to issue sports lotto tickets by next year the earliest.

Based on the ministry's plan, the National Council on Physical Fitness and Sports will take the helm in choosing the appropriate banking institution and devising regulations to govern the issuance of the sports lotto, said Liu Teng-cheng (劉燈城), director general of the National Treasury Agency.

The regulations are expected to be formulated within two months, pending the Cabinet's approval, he said.

As the large-scale game-fixing scandal is undermining the integrity of the nation's professional baseball, Liu said, "The sports lotto will use internationally recognized sporting events at home and abroad as the target, like the NBA, the nation's baseball and others."

Profits from the lotto tickets will be earmarked to support the development of the nation's athletic events, he said.

According to Cho, before the current lotto game mechanism was established, illegal lotto games were so popular that gangsters regarded saw them as an easy way to make money.

"Experience teaches us that this is a practical way to solve the illegal gambling problem, so the Cabinet supports the idea of a sports lotto since so many people love to bet on their favorite teams," Cho said.

He said that current game-fixing scandal bedeviling the Chinese Professional Baseball League has sparked discussions over a sports lotto, which is why Premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) believes the time is ripe for such a proposal.

"We have thought about it before. We have pondered using a sports lotto to fund international competitions, especially as we are trying to apply to host the 2020 Olympic Games," Cho said.

The latest scandal has resulted in fewer baseball fans going to stadiums for games.

"If we have a well-organized mechanism for a sports lotto, I am quite sure that things like this [the scandal] will not happen again," Cho said.

This story has been viewed 2993 times.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top