Published:25 August 2021
The public boycotted the National Myanmar lottery for the first time in its 143-year history, as citizens refused to make any payment to the military administration that seized power in a coup on Feb. 1.
The population has been boycotting all payments, including taxes, utility bills, and lottery tickets, as part of a more significant civil disobedience movement against the regime.
As a result, the administration was compelled to postpone the lottery draw and cut the first reward from 1.5 billion kyats (about US$911,000) to 500 million kyats. Due to a cash shortage, it has also been unable to pay the awards in full to the winners.
Lottery shops and lottery ticket hawkers have gone across Myanmar, demonstrating widespread public hostility to the regime and marking a watershed moment in Myanmar's state lottery history.
According to historical documents, when Myanmar's last monarch, King Thibaw, arrived at the throne in 1878, the first state lottery was established. Only 10,000 kyats of the 60,000 kyats in sales income went to the Mandalay court's treasury; the rest was dispersed as prizes.
It's no surprise that the first person to win the lottery, Mi Ohn, was paraded through Mandalay on an elephant, the royal tusker reserved solely for royal family members and high-ranking ministers at the time. The lottery, however, grew so popular that people stopped participating in other companies, causing King Thibaw to suspend it in 1881.