Visitors and the Thai Lottery in Phuket
Visitors to Phuket are likely to see vendors who walking around with large boards hanging from their body. These boards contain lottery tickets and buying these is a hugely popular pastime in Thailand – just like it is in many other countries around the world. For the Thai person the lottery is a chance to win enough money to change their life. They look forward to the draw with excitement. It is all great fun and there is no reason why visitors should not join in the action. The money involved in the Thai lottery is much less than the top prizes in some western countries, but it is still a significant amount that could certainly pay for a few nice holidays.
Thai Lottery Explained
A lottery is a type of gambling where lots are drawn in order to award prizes. This is the only type of gambling that is actually legal in Thailand. The first ever lottery is believed to have taken place in China likely around 205 BC, but it could be older than this. The first official national lottery is credited to England in 1566.
The Thai Lottery (สลากกินแบ่งรัฐบาล or หวย) works a bit different than those in many other countries. In Thailand people do not get to write down the numbers they want for the main official lottery, but instead buy tickets which already have the numbers printed on them. This means that if people want specific numbers they will need to find somebody selling those numbers. Many other countries will use machines where customers will get a print out of their lottery numbers, but in Thailand the system is completely paper based. Up until a few years ago there was another lottery where people could choose numbers, but this is currently not available.
Cost of a Thai Lottery Ticket
The official cost of a Thai Lottery ticket is 40 THB for one ticket. It is usually only possible to buy 2 tickets together so in reality the price of the lottery is 80 THB. Most people will buy their lottery ticket from a vendor who will add 20 THB to the price so that people can expect to pay 100 THB for their two tickets. Some vendors will try to charge foreigners more than this if they think they can get away with it. If a combination number is currently popular then sellers will usually try to charge more for it. It is all about supply and demand and some people will be willing to pay more for a ticket if they have a good feeling about it.
Thai Lottery Prizes
The Thai Lottery prizes are decided by a number of draws and people can win:
- 1st prize is 2,000,000 THB
- 2nd Prize is 100,000 THB
- 3rd Prize is 40,000 THB
- 4th Prize 20,000 THB
- 5th Prize 10,000 THB
There are also other bonus prizes. The first prize will be for just one number, but there will be 100 ticketholders can get the 5th prize. The fact that people will have two tickets for their lottery number means that the prize money will be doubled – in other words the top prize is actually 4,000,000 in reality.
Importance of the Thai Lottery to Thai People
Many Thai people view the lottery as an important part of their life. Many believe that it will be possible to obtain the right numbers with supernatural help – although many urban Thais suggest such beliefs as mere superstition. This means that prior to picking lottery numbers they may:
- Reflect on their dreams to see if there were any suggested numbers in these that may prove lucky.
- Young children are often believed to have the ability to forecast lottery numbers. This means that any numbers they suggest will be taken seriously by adults – some will even quiz their children for suggested numbers.
- People may go to visit shrines in the hope of increasing their luck. There tends to be certain shrines that develop a reputation as being lucky, and people may travel great distances to visit these.
- Some people will even listen carefully to the sermons given by respected monks to see if any numbers are divulged. This is even more likely to happen if the monk is a meditator or believed to have psychic powers.
Many westerns who buy Thai lottery tickets will choose them at random but most Thais will put a great deal more deliberation into the process of choosing.
How to Buy Thai Lottery Tickets
The Thai lottery takes place on the 1st and 16th of each month. There are a number of options for buying tickets such as:
- Vendors will travel around selling tickets wherever there are crowds of people. In the beach areas of Phuket there will always be somebody selling these tickets – particularly as it gets near to the draw.
- Most market areas will have sellers who will display large boards full of lottery tickets.
- There are certain shops that specialize in selling these tickets.
How to Get the Thai Lottery Results
There are a number of ways that people can obtain Thai Lottery results including:
- There are a number of websites that publish the Thai Lottery results as they happen including – Thai Lottery Results.
- Ex-pat blogger Richard Barrow posts the Lottery Results on Twitter.
- There is an iPhone app that people can use to get the results as they happen.
- The results are broadcast on many Thai radio stations.
- The results are published in Thai newspapers.
Fake Thai Lottery Tickets
Unfortunately there are people who will try to sell fake Thai Lottery tickets to the unwary. Most Thai people will be easily to spot a fake by the lack of a proper watermark but foreigners can be more easily duped. As scams go it is not likely to involve too much money, but nobody likes to be taken advantage of. In order to reduce the risk of buying a fake lottery ticket it is recommended that people:
- Have a look at a genuine ticket so that they know what to look for.
- Never buy a ticket from a stranger who doesn’t appear to be a regular vendor – especially people who are not walking around with a lottery ticket board.
- It is best to only buy tickets from a vendor that Thai people are buying from.
- If people have any doubts about the genuineness of the ticket they should walk away unless they don’t mind losing their money.
- Never pay more than 120 THB for lottery tickets – 100 THB is the usual cost from a vendor. It is also not realistic to expect to pay the actual cost of these tickets (80 THB) as the vendor has to make a profit as they are not paid by the lottery directly.