The long-awaited sports lotteries were officially launched yesterday, with 148 retail stores nationwide opening simultaneously for sales at 10am.
Taipei Fubon Bank is in charge of issuing the sports lotteries. The bank’s chairman Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠) said in a press conference at the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) yesterday that the bank plans to increase the number of retail stores to about 1,000 within two months.
While the lotteries are currently only available at stores, Fubon has plans to sell the tickets online.
Aside from the Internet, Tsai said that customers would eventually be able to place their bets via a dial-in service, mobile phones, Chunghwa Telecom’s multimedia-on-demand service and digital cable television service.
Richard Yang (楊瑞東), the bank’s vice president, said that it plans to list Chinese Professional Baseball League games as one of the betting items by the end of August.
As the nation will also compete in the baseball and basketball at the Beijing Olympic Games, events in both categories will become betting items in August as well, he said.
Yang further said that the bank’s contract with the Ministry of Finance dictated that it generate a total revenue of NT$190.1 billion in six years.
“We aim to achieve NT$10.7 billion in the first year of operations,” he said, adding that the public needed to be educated about the rules of the game.
Games that people can bet on include Major League Baseball, the National Baseball Association and soccer leagues in Europe and Japan.
The bank has listed six betting options, including “handicap,” “hi-lo,” “winning margin,” “home-away-draw,” “correct score” and “championship.”
The first three options can be used when a person bets on baseball or basketball games, whereas the last three can be used when placing bets on soccer games.
A better could choose “handicap” when a historically strong team is playing against a historically weak team. In general, the option equalizes the chances of winning for both teams by scoring compensation.
“Hi-lo” refers to an option where the bookmaker estimates the total score of both teams. Gamblers could then bet whether the outcome exceeds or falls short of the estimated total. To bet on the winning margin, one could bet that a team will defeat another by a certain number of points.
A person could bet on one single game at a time, or bet on two to six games at a time. For the latter, betters lose if any of the games they bet on don’t match their predictions.
However, if all results match the better’s predictions, his prize increases by multiplying the odds for each game.
Taiwanese New York Yankees starter Wang Chien-ming (王建民) is scheduled to play in a match against the Seattle Mariners today, and the bank has set odds for the game.
Yang said that given the Yankees have a few batters on the injury list, the bank estimated the odds of a Yankees win at 9-5.
Head of the SAC Julien Kuo (郭正亮) said that the sports lottery will increase public attention toward domestic and foreign sports events, but urged the legislature to draw up new laws.
“Without independent regulation, the sports lottery cannot focus on promoting sports,” he said, adding that the profits from lottery sales should be used to support sports activities.
The current statute governing the issuance of public welfare lotteries stipulates that gains from lottery issuance can only be appropriated for social welfare.