Advocates of social welfare programs have urged the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) to establish a law to regulate the issuance of sports lotteries.
The SAC has said a license for the lotteries is scheduled to be issued on May 2. Taipei Fubon Bank (台北富邦銀行) won the bid to run the sports lotteries.
Last month, the Cabinet approved an amendment to the Statute Governing Public Welfare Lotteries (
The amendment, however, was vetoed at the legislative Finance Committee. Legislators who opposed the amendment said the statute only authorizes the government to use lottery earnings to pay for the National Pension System (國民年金), National Health Insurance (全民健保) and other social welfare programs.
Yeh Ta-hua (
Yeh, a member of the government's Supervisory Committee of Public Welfare Lotteries, said that since 1999 the accumulated earnings from the sale of the Public Welfare Lottery had topped NT$128.8 billion (US$3.9 billion). However, because of inadequate supervision, local governments now cut their annual budgets for welfare programs and use the profits from the lottery to cover the operational expenses of the programs instead, she said.
"Not much is left to actually pay for social welfare," Yeh said.
She also said that public welfare lotteries and sports lotteries operate under different rules and target different buyers.
The fact that Fubon Bank set such stringent standards for retailers has also denied physically challenged people the right to operate small business selling lottery tickets, she said.
Eva Teng (
Even though 20 percent of the profit was to be allocated to social welfare programs, she said that the new sports lotteries were likely to generate a "crowding-out" effect. The new sports lotteries would mean the revenue gained from the public welfare lotteries would now decrease, she said.
Chang Fen-fen (張芬芬), director of the SAC's general planning department, said yesterday the council had considered drafting a new law to regulate the issuance of sports lotteries.
"But given the time that the legal procedures would take, we decided we wouldn't be able to make it [on schedule]," she said.
Chang said the council expected the lotteries to commence in May and did not have any plan to propose a new law.
Regarding the standards set for retailers, Chang said earlier this month that the government could only ask the bank to employ more handicapped persons.
In related news, the council is relocating its main office to Tsoying (左營), Kaohsiung City, on Thursday.