The Thai Lotto Is More Than Just a Game

thai lotto

A street vendor carting around a brown wooden box full of lotto tickets strapped to his bicycle is an image synonymous with Thai street trade. The thai lotto is one of just two forms of legal gambling in the Land of Smiles, and it is played by over 19 million Thais; a whopping 28.6% of the native population. But despite the game’s popularity, these traders face a battle to make ends meet. When Thailand’s military government took power in May 2014, lottery reform was one of many topics on their agenda.

The thai lotto is the official national lottery of Thailand, drawing results on the first and sixteenth of each month. It is operated by the Government Lottery Office (GLO). Tickets are sold nationwide at local markets, convenience stores, and supermarkets. The GLO prints the tickets and then sells them to national wholesalers, known as brokers, who in turn sell them to retail venues. The retail venues are allowed to put a profit on top of the price that the GLO sets for the tickets.

In addition to the six-digit number, each ticket has a two-tone watermark of Wayupak, a mythical bird, and contains chemical additives that cause the paper to stain when exposed to bleach. The ticket also has a serial number that is scanned when purchased and can be checked against the winning numbers in the event of a dispute.

Many people believe that certain numbers are lucky, and this belief has spawned an industry of numerology and a range of other pseudosciences to help players choose the right numbers. In the past, Thais were even willing to visit temples and shrines to ask monks to divine which digits would bring them luck. It is often said in the country that tragedy precedes good fortune, which probably explains why drivers will look up license plate numbers of cars that have crashed on highways and other morbid ways to find their lucky numbers.

While a little more regulation and higher jackpot prizes could be nice, there is something intriguing about the thai lottery that attracts so many people to its fold. The ritual and the passion with which the locals chase lucky number tickets results in a lottery that is much more than just a game. It is a way of life. And if that isn’t a reason to give it a go, nothing is.