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Lotto Lottery Introduction Creates Muddy Struggle

Posted December. 28, 2001 09:12,   


In the midst of confounding conflict over the introduction of lotto lottery, the government and the ruling party have tried to take a measure to deal with the situation, but the conflict between governmental offices and departments has not been put at ease. The opposition party also criticized that the government are stirring up the gambling spirit.

In the `lotto lottery`, a purchaser can write down 6 numbers among the pool of numbers from 1 to 49, completely different kind of lottery from the existing lotteries on which the numbers are printed. Its annual sales scale is estimated to reach 1 trillion and 500 billion won to 2 trillion won.

Since the winning percentage is very low and the prize can be transferred to next week in case of no prizewinner, the lotto lottery is known to be able to take over the domestic lottery market in a short term by arousing the expectancy to the `jackpot` among the people. The lotto lottery has shared 60 percent of the lottery market in the USA, Europe and Japan.

Lee Mi-Kyung, Chairperson of the Third Policy Coordination Committee of the New Millennium Democratic Party, said yesterday, "Since the lotto lottery is completely different from the existing lotteries in its effect and system, it would be necessary to set the guideline such as the upper limit of prize by establishing the general lottery law."

Meanwhile, the lotto lottery project has been actively pursued by the `on-line joint lottery group` comprised of the Ministry of Construction and Transportation, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Labor, the Korea Forest Service, the Small and Medium Business Administration and the Jeju Province. They aim at introducing the lotto lottery in September next year. And the internet lottery company `Lotto` and the information security company `Soft Forum` announced yesterday that they agreed to cooperate with each other for internet lottery solution project.

However, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) has opposed to the introduction of lotto lottery on the grounds that there are likely to be an overlapped investment with the Sports TOTO, which has been issued in order to raise the fund for the construction of the World Cup stadiums, and the Sports TOTO market may be contracted. The MCT has appealed to the national sentiment, maintaining that since the foreigners have the 70.9 percent share of the Kookmin Bank which is the lotto lottery agency, there will be the drain of the considerable amount of national wealth into foreign countries.

The Grand National Party (GNP) also raised the opposing opinion, saying that the government has taken the lead to stir up the people`s gambling spirit. Moreover, the GNP has suspicion that the lotto lottery may be utilized as a channel for the ruling party to raise the fund for next year`s presidential election.

The government and the ruling party decided to discuss the legal foundation, legitimacy, lottery agency, and profit distribution method by constituting the lottery coordination committee, presided by the Head of the Office for Government Policy Coordination and comprised of vice ministers of the related ministries and departments. However, it is the majority opinion that the committee would not be easy to reach an agreement.

Chol-Hi Lee klimt@donga.com