2. Thailand’s Lotto Explanation (Legal and Illegal)
Brick and Mortar Gambling Law in Thailand
Our National Lottery is the only form of legal gambling that most people in Thailand have access to. This began in 1974. Today drawings are held on first and sixteenth day of every month. I will conclude this article by discussing how obsessed people are with this lottery. First I provide full details about how it all works including buying tickets and the money prizes.
Buying Thai Lottery
In Thailand lottery tickets are preprinted. All over the country lottery vendors can be found roaming markets, streets and villages. There are also stands outside big shops such as Tesco Lotus and Big C.
The official cost per ticket is 40 baht. However, these are sold in identical packs of two so it is only possible to buy two tickets at 80 baht (which are an exact match of each other). Also the sellers of the tickets charge a markup. As is the case with almost everything in Thailand, lottery prices are negotiable.
With street vendors the asking price might be 120-130 baht for the two tickets that have 40+40=80 baht face value. In stands outside major shops 100 Baht is a common price. Interesting is that vendors who do list prices often do so differently for each ticket. Unpopular numbers cost less (85, 90 and 95 baht) while ones containing lucky Buddhist number combinations cost more.
Thai Lotto Tickets Explained
The image to the right is our standard pack of two matching lottery tickets. For most drawings, all that matters is the six digit number. If you draw that number in exact order you will win prizes the prize for that draw.
So why are there two additional double- digit numbers on the ticket?
The bottom number indicates what of type of ticket it is. As of the time I’m writing this article there are two different jackpots.
For certain batches the top prizes are:
- 3 million baht for all correct
- 20 million baht for all correct + 2 digit bonus (0-99) number correct.
For the other batches the top prizes are:
- 2 million baht for all correct
- 30 million baht for all correct + 2 digit bonus (0-99) number correct.
The same six digit number (0-9 per slot) applies to both main draws. If you get the exact match, next look at the back of your ticket to see if the prize is 2 million or 3 million. From here there is an extra number (multiplier) drawn separate (0-99) for each. If you have the 2 million paying ticket – and the two digit number drawn for it matches, you get 30 million on that ticket. Because you hold two tickets you will get the 30 million + 2 million. The same for the ticket that pays 3 million: if you match the extra number you will get 20 million more for that portion of your ticket.
No matter which type of ticket you hold if you are one number off in either direction (for example if 223454 is the draw then 223453 and 223455 are 1 number off) you win a consolation prize of 50,000 baht. As you have two identical tickets you actually win 100,000 baht.
The remaining draws use only the six-digit numbers and prizes are as follow:
- Second Prize = 100,000 Baht per ticket: 5 new six digit numbers are drawn for this and if your six digit number matches any of them you win.
- Third Prize = 40,000 Baht per ticket: the same as above but here 10 new six digit numbers are drawn.
- Fourth Prize = 20,000 Baht per ticket: the same with 50 new six digit numbers drawn.
- Fifth Prize = 10,000 Baht per ticket: the same with 100 new six digit numbers drawn.
- Last 3 = 2,000 Baht per ticket: Four sets of three numbers are drawn. If the last three digits of you six digit number match any of these four you win this prize.
- Last 2 = 1,000 Baht per: A separate two digit number is drawn and if your last two is a match you win this prize.
Important Note: for reason that you have two identical tickets for every draw the prizes above are always doubled. The only one that is not is the main 20 million and 30 million jackpots.
Finding Thai Lottery Results
The lottery is drawn on the fist and sixteenth of every month. A television show is built around this that starts at 3PM. Towards the end of the show (just before 4PM) the lottery numbers are displayed. If you speak Thai you can also find the results on the official website www.glo.or.th.
How to Claim Lottery Prizes
Winning tickets can be redeemed for their prize at any Provincial Office of the Comptroller General’s Department (CGD). There is one of these in every province (3 in Bangkok). The tax is 0.5% of winnings. It is possible to redeem at shops though the fee is higher, about 2% is a typical price to negotiate to.
Thai People Love Lottery
Understand the lottery covered on this page is extremely popular. Especially so in rural areas where folk beliefs and Chinese religions have integrated with Buddhism – the ideas of spirits, ghosts, and dreams producing winning numbers is such a phenomenon here that in 2013 it was written about in the New York Times. It is also discussed inthis ThaiVisa thread.
In Thai temples there are bamboo sticks in tubes that visitors shake until one falls out. The stick that falls out has a number on it that corresponds with lottery poetry located on the wall. These include lucky numbers for playing the lottery. Enter เซียมซี into a Google image search might help you understand. Also, Prapheni Bun Bang Fai (ประเพณีบุญบั้งไฟ) is an annual merit-making ceremony practiced by ethnic-Loa people (such as my wife and her family) that live in Thailand. It involves large black-powder rockets. Those who attend watch the smoke in hopes of seeing lottery numbers appear in the trails.
My license plate number once had the winning numbers. At least half-a-dozen strangers stopped to point this out after the draw, most of them asking if I played. Seeing as I was lucky questions about my dreams and such followed in several conversations. The fact even days after the draw people remember and see past drawings appearing in places tells how popular this is.
Illegal Lottery in Thailand
As popular as our main lottery is the illegal lotto. In most every province there is at least one person running books that offers better odds than the legal lotto. These use the exact same six-number draw as the National Lottery. While very few are honest about what it costs and the odds, for the benefit of farang who wish to know:
- Last Two Exact – for every 12 baht wagered the winnings are 1,000 baht.
- Last Three Exact – for every 1 baht wager the winnings are 500 baht.
- Last Three Any Order – for every 1 baht wagered the winnings are 90 baht
Understand the illegal lottery is a nationwide syndicate. While some sellers might charge more, or some might run books independent of this crime syndicate (thus charging more or less) the above are the standard odds for our illegal lottery.
An article that covers in full the lottery system in Thailand including its laws and illegal forms of lottery in Thailand including costs and popularity.