Lottery ticket vendors bet on distributor support during pandemic

By Cuu Long   March 31, 2020 | 05:39 pm GMT+7
Lottery ticket vendors bet on distributor support during pandemic
A woman selling lottery tickets (C) in HCMC, December 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tran.

Nguyen Thanh Tam, 34, a lottery ticket distributor in Vinh Long Province, has decided to provide vendors VND50,000 ($2.10) a day each.

At his house in a small alley in the province's capital town, also named Vinh Long, he spent the last two days drawing up with a list of nearly 30 sellers.

"These are my most trusted partners," said Tam.

Vietnam suspended all lotteries for 15 days starting April 1 to contain the spread of the new coronavirus. While HCMC and some localities are looking for ways to assist lottery ticket vendors during the suspension, distributors like Tam are pulling from their own pockets.

He said most vendors are poor and do not have other jobs or land, earning a living by solely selling lottery tickets.

He helped some vendors before by giving them tickets to sell in advance and pay back later.

"I also experienced life’s obstacles working as a hired laborer to earn money to study, live, and build a business. So I understand their difficulties."

He knows lottery ticket vendors come into contact with many potential Covid-19 cases.

"I think the decision to stop issuing lottery tickets is reasonable. But it is tough on vendors since they need the daily income to survive," Tam stated.

He said vendors on his list will receive their cash support after 4 p.m. each day between April 1-15.

Lottery ticket vendor Nguyen Minh Trung, 37, normally sells between 160-180 tickets per day, making a profit of VND1,000  ($0.04) per ticket, enough to support his family. His wife works part-time and does not earn much. Thus, the couple has not dared to have children.

"In the past few days, due to the pandemic, I sold about 100 tickets a day. So in the evening, I had to work as a porter to earn a little extra," Trung explained.

He added VND50,000 from Tam would help him pay rent, at VND25,000 ($1.05) per day, and buy rice.

"In this difficult time, it is a very meaningful action," he said.

Meanwhile, a representative from Can Tho Lottery Company in Can Tho City said he is contacting agents to tally up the number of those selling lottery tickets in the area to provide them rice, cooking oil, necessities and treatment. Each gift is worth between VND500,000-700,000 ($21.05-29.46).

During a meeting on Covid-19 prevention and control on Monday, HCM City Chairman Nguyen Thanh Phong instructed the local Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to come up with a plan to help lottery ticket vendors amid the pandemic.

"They are low-income workers who live on lottery ticket sales commission, and we need to help them out during this time," Phong said.

Bac Lieu Province People's Committee asked the provincial lottery company the same day to address difficulties faced by lottery ticket vendors.

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc approved a proposal by the Ministry of Finance to temporarily stop all activities related to lotteries, gaming and casinos.

Deputy Minister of Finance Do Hoang Anh Tuan said the order would mean lottery ticket vendors would have to stop going round town, reducing the possibility of transmitting the virus.

The government has ordered a shutdown of all "non-essential" businesses nationwide from March 28 to April 15 amid the increasingly fraught Covid-19 situation.

Vietnam had recorded 204 Covid-19 infections as of Tuesday.

The Covid-19 pandemic has killed over 37,800 people after spreading to 200 countries and territories so far.

 
 
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