CHANTHABURI — A rash of fake lottery tickets earlier this month in several provinces prompted a surge of distrust that has vendors seeking to repair confidence two days before the next big draw.
Four people were arrested mid-month in Nakhon Pathom for selling nearly 700 fake tickets, news of which soon had police checking tickets for authenticity there and in other provinces, including Nong Khai and Khon Kaen, where sales fell.
Two days before the next numbers are called, vendors at Chanthaburi’s Sui Market, where most tickets in the province are sold, said Monday that not only were buyers undeterred, but sales had increased.
“They found fake lottery tickets in Nakhon Pathom and Khon Kaen provinces, but that hasn’t affected our ticket sales badly,” said Rapee Naksuriyan, one of the market’s hundreds of ticket vendors.
Rapee said the crisis of confidence had a silver lining for regular vendors.
“We’re selling even more tickets because repeat customers trust their regular ticket sellers, especially if they sell at the same place,” Rapee said. “Every ticket I sell here comes straight from the Government Lottery Office. No fakes.”
On Feb. 16, the day of the lottery results of the last round, police arrested four people for selling 693 fake lottery tickets in Wat Sawang Arom in Nakhon Pathom.
The four arrests on Feb. 16 came after two disgruntled 70-year-old women realized they had been conned into buying fake tickets and called in the cops.
Forged lottery tickets periodically appear to cause suspicion and panic among regular gamblers who have elevated the lottery to a national pastime.
As news of the fakes spread faster than lucky numbers from a magic tree, vendors elsewhere complained their sales took a hit.
“Sales aren’t so good this round. Some walk over and ask if my tickets are fake,” said Suthep Petchsuk, a 53-year-old vendor in Khon Kaen province. “I guarantee mine are 100 percent real! I’ll even tell you how to spot fakes, which is by dipping tickets in water to see if the ink runs.”
Even at Sui Market, concerned customers were seen checking the authenticity of tickets by holding then up to the light to search for the Vayukapaksa bird watermark, similar to that used by the Finance Ministry or Krung Thai Bank logo. Authentic tickets must also be printed with waterproof ink, have unique barcodes and be made of paper that doesn’t tear or dissolve when wet.