Myanmar (Burma) has an official lottery, which is the only legal form of gambling in the country. The lottery is called Aungbalay, sometimes spelled as Aung Bar Lay, and it means May you win. The Burmese lottery is administered by the Ministry of Finance’s State Lottery Department, and all the lottery tickets are printed at a special printing works in Wazi, Mage region, which is the same location where the Burmese kyat notes and passports are printed.
The First Burmese Lottery
The first Burmese lottery was introduced during the Konbaung dynasty, in 1878. A national state lottery was first established during the reign of King Thibaw Min, who was trying to raise some state revenue. The lottery was designed by Pho Hlaing, who had some time ago played the French lottery in Paris. That particular lottery was brought to an end in 1880, because of conflicts of interest, and administration of the lottery. There was also a great degree of condemnation by the Buddhist monks, and subsequent loss of revenue led to its close.
The current lottery was introduced under British rule in 1938. Revenue from the lottery tickets sold brought in over twenty eight million dollars for the Burmese government, and over thirty million tickets are sold every month for a draw that happens monthly.
A Struggle With Illegal Gambling
Despite the great source of income from the Burmese lottery, it faces a struggle against Burma’s huge gambling sector. Playing the lottery is a once a month game. The rest of the time millions of Burmese break the law by betting on the horse races and gambling on numbers garnished from Bangkok’s stock exchange and Thailand’s own lottery. These games are known throughout the country as two digit and three digit games, and Thien Naing, the head of the state Burmese lottery, acknowledges their popularity. This gambling probably pre-dates the introduction of the official lottery in 1983, under British rule. An estimate from a Burmese involved in the illegal gambling, is that around seventy percent of the adult population in Burma gambles in these games. This is leading to a serious social and economic issue.
Thein Naing is keen to promote the official Burmese lottery. Not only Myanmar citizens can buy tickets, all foreigners are also welcome to buy tickets as they would be invited into halls to play online bingo for real money.
The Lure of Every Lottery
Everyone has read the statistics. Everyone knows the chances of dying from a bee sting, or being struck by lightning, is greater than your chances of winning the lottery. But everyone also knows that lotteries are won, you simply have to choose the right six numbers.
The fear of being left out is evidently also a powerful motivator, as is seeing people winning lottery millions, thus the urge to at least be in the draw. The dream of lottery millions continues, despite the overwhelming odds, and distinct lack of chance, people keep playing the lottery. People are simply in love with hope.
Spend a little, get a lot is, additionally, the basis for every good investment. Therefore, millions are glued to their television sets every week, all people who have tickets in any lottery, as well as the Burmese lottery, just imagining how wonderfully their lot in life could change.