Throughout the Christmas season, Lottery Daily will be revisiting some of the biggest stories of the lottery business world from the past year. This edition will be looking at stories in Africa and Asia.
Issues affecting the lottery industry can be sourced from inside and outside of organisations, as evidenced from some of the big stories dominating headlines in South Africa and Thailand in 2022, with both countries adopting tough approaches in an attempt to fix persistent problems.
South African NLC vows to rebuild image
Positive news was hard to come by at the South African National Lotteries Commission (NLC) as the organisation lurched from one controversy to the next. Allegations of corruption date back to 2020, but this year saw a real breakthrough in developments to root it out and oust some significant players from the top of the tree.
After the Pretoria High Court threw out attempts to quash a probe into corruption allegations in February, COO Phillemon Letwaba made accusations of bias against an audit firm that were investigating his conduct at the company. Letwaba would remain a prominent name in the industry as he was later served with notice of his third suspension at the NLC. Charges against him also included contraventions of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, as well as sections of the Lotteries Act and the Public Finance Management Act.
Further hits to the NLC included the resignation of Commissioner Thabang Charlotte Mampane after being held responsible for hundreds of millions of misspent lottery funding in her years of service.
In the face of further investigations, new NLC Board Chairperson Barney Pityana admitted that the organisation finds itself at a “crossroads”.
But where there is adversity there also remains hope, and Pityana subsequently unveiled the NLC’s plan to repair its reputation, with 2023 surely acting as a crucial springboard to transform its image in the eyes of stakeholders and regulators.
Thailand tackles lottery ticket troubles
Overpriced and illegal lottery tickets proved to be the scourge of Thai police this year. Investigations were launched into a number of lotteries accused of selling tickets above the 80 baht price set by the Government Lottery Office (GLO), and the organisation was also hot on the heels of vendors selling tickets to underaged persons.
In order to combat these issues, government officials decided to launch two new lotteries and subsequently increase the number of government e-lottery tickets sold via the Paotang app. The move appeared to be a success as tickets for one draw sold out in just over 24 hours, but this was quickly followed by reports of three arrests in relation to overpricing of tickets.
A renewed response was required to fix this long-standing issue, and this arrived in September with a plan to launch two new digital lotteries. The increased revenue from these would be used by the government to try and resolve poverty and other social problems, including illegal gambling. The plan received widespread public approval which has allowed the scheme to advance, with 2023 set to act as the acid test on their implementation and subsequent effect on the issues of overpriced and illegal lottery tickets.