Lottery Impact in Thailand
One of the few legal forms of gambling in Thailand is lottery. Lottery has a huge impact upon lower to middle class Thais. The most common lottery consumers are
northeastern and northern Thais. If you may notice, regular lottery consumers have low or medium income and they obviously target for lottery prizes. In other words,
lottery is seen as a "shortcut to wealth." Since northern and northeastern Thais make up a majority of the country's population, the amount of taxes collected from lottery
The motivation of lottery consumers is the lottery winners who are usually lower class Thais. Lottery transformed poor families to millionaire families. My family's
business in the north of Thailand included selling lotteries. Recently, there was a very poor farmer who happened to won the first lottery prize which is approximately 35
million baht or over a million dollar.
There's a unique part about Thai lottery consumers, that is the method of choosing a number to buy. Many lottery consumers are superstitious Thais who hold a strong
belief for Gods and their compassion towards unfortunate people. People often choose a number to buy by their birthday, age, or other numbers related to themselves or
others. However, there is a wide range of "superstitious" methods to find a lottery number to buy. Some are:
Dreams: There is a book written by horoscopes that relate symbols and events you find in your dreams into numbers. For example, a snake is considered the number 9, or
a wheel is considered the number 0. Some Thai people try to remember what they dreamed and transcribe it into numbers that is later chosen as their lottery numbers.
They may also use the age of the people or the license of the car they dreamed of to determine what numbers should be bought.
Trees: It is believed that all trees have an angel residing in that tree. People choose old trees or large trees to pay respect to and treat the tree like a shrine. Then, they
will pray and use powder to rub on the trunk of the tree. The people expect that the texture from the tree trunk will form numbers which they will choose to buy.
Candle drops: In some Theravada Buddhist ceremonies, the monk lights up a candle and lean it on a bowl filled with water. The candle wax drops into the bowl and cools
on the surface of the water. When ceremonies are done, people observe the cooled candle drops if it form some sort of numeral.
Hints from a monk: There are monks in Thailand who give out numbers to Buddhists like hints of numbers to buy. This action is often considered wrong for Buddhist
monks because giving out hints for numbers is like deceiving Buddhists with greed for possessions which is pretty much against the notion of Buddhism.
Fortune Teller Hints: Similar to monks, fortune tellers give lottery hints known as (Huay Ded) or literally " hot numbers " It is considered more appropriate than monks
giving out hints because fortune tellers do not have to follow the way of Buddhism.