Vietnam lottery firms raise prizes to compete with American-style jackpot

By VnExpress   November 13, 2016 | 02:40 pm GMT+7
Vietnam lottery firms raise prizes to compete with American-style jackpot
A man considering buying jackpot tickets at a Vietlott agent. Photo by VnExpress/Phuong Dong

Traditional lottery companies across southern Vietnam have decided to increase their top prizes by a third.

Traditional lottery companies across southern Vietnam have decided to increase their top prizes by a third to compete with a new American-style jackpot that has quickly gained popularity in the region.

From the start of next year, the firms will raise their top prizes to VND2 billion (nearly $88,000), up 33.3 percent from the current VND1.5 billion ($65,980), Tuoi Tre (Youth) news site reported on Sunday, quoting the Southern Lottery Council.

In a letter, the council also asked the Ministry of Finance to review ticket sales of Vietlott, or the Vietnam Computerized Lottery One Member Limited Liability Company. The council said Vietlott has violated regulations by printing its computerized lottery tickets and selling them as normal ones.

Vietlott announced in October and November two winners of its Mega 6/45 American-style jackpot worth $4 million and $3 million, respectively. The prizes, much higher than those offered by traditional lottery firms, have caused a media fanfare around the lucky families and their winnings.

Vietnam's annual average income was around $2,100 last year, according to the World Bank.

A leader from a lottery company in the Mekong Delta admitted that the traditional lottery has taken a hit since the launch of Vietlott due to unlicensed ticket sales. Traditional lottery tickets in Vietnam have predetermined numbers printed on them, whereas Vietlott players get to select their numbers online.

A manager of a traditional lottery firm in Ho Chi Minh City told VnExpress earlier this month that the number of tickets sold in recent months have declined by about 10-30 percent due to competition from Vietlott.

Vietlott signed an exclusive 18-year contract with Malaysian conglomerate Berjaya in January to launch computerized lottery games.

The Mega 6/45 is the company's first foray into the market and will be followed by other services.

Players select six numbers from 1 to 45 and win the jackpot, starting at VND12 billion ($538,000), by matching all six winning numbers from the draw. Each ticket costs VND10,000 (40 cents).

The jackpot prize rolls over until there is a winner. The odds of winning are extremely low, believed to be around one in 8.14 million.

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