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Tue, Mar 05, 2002 - Page 18 News List

Lotto draw moves to the weekend

LUCK An anti-lottery coalition wants the government to print a warning on tickets that the chances of hitting the jackpot is much less than getting struck by lightning

By Stanley Chou  /  STAFF REPORTER

Minister of Finance Lee Yung-san (李庸三) said yesterday that the days reserved for the drawing of numbers for the overheated lottery will be changed from Tuesdays and Fridays to Wednesdays and Satur-days.

The minister added that a warning message will also be added to the tickets.

He said the changes will come into effect within one month.

Lee made the comment in the Legislative Yuan's finance committee yesterday, in response to a request from legislators that the over-zealous buying of tickets must be slowed down.

"We decided to move the Friday slot to Saturday. Therefore the Tuesday slot will follow suit and move to Wednesday," Lee was quoted as saying.

"The TaipeiBank (台北銀行) proposed to change both the slots in order to retain the same interval between each number-draw."

Market watchers said the change to Saturday aims at getting lottery-ticket buyers to buy the tickets over weekends, when the practice will not interfere with the normal working schedule. Many people have reportedly taken off from work to stand in ticket lines.

"However, regarding the question whether the drawing day should be changed from twice a week to once a week ... unless there is a consensus from the public, the ministry will not change the current status within the next three months," said Lee.

Lee said last week that the proposal to have number-draws only once a week, would not be considered until six months after the lottery's launch date. The first computerized lottery was issued on Jan. 17.

"Experience have shown us that the public is normally more enthusiastic about public lotteries during the early stages.

This will bring an initial over-demand for tickets, but after three to six months the frenzy is likely to subside naturally," Lee said.

He also said that adding a warning message to tickets will not be a simple task.

"Warning messages will be printed on the lottery tickets. But, since the imported printing paper has not been used up yet. We will ask the paper suppliers to add such warning messages in the future," Lee added.

"It will take several weeks or even longer to make the change," said Richard Yang (楊瑞東), vice president and general manager of TaipeiBank's lottery department. "Since all the printing paper is made overseas, we have to ask them to change the print format, which will take a time to implement," said Lee.

"As for other changes -- like setting a weekly number-draw day, the TaipeiBank will follow the Ministry of Finance's orders," said Yang.

An anti-lottery coalition (反彩券聯盟) consisting of the Peng Wanru Foundation (彭婉如基金會), Women Online (女人連線) and other groups, proposed recently that the TaipeiBank, which operates the lottery, should put a warning on lottery tickets that the chance of hitting the jackpot is about one in 5.24 million -- which means you are two-thirds more likely to be struck by lightning than you are of winning big.

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