Monday, May 27, 2013


Just about everyone in Taiwan gambles, even if they never buy a lottery ticket or go to a casino even once.  Why?  Thanks to the receipt lottery.  What is a receipt lottery?  Well, take a look at the two receipts below.  Do you see the 8-digit numbers near the tops?  Those numbers are for a lottery drawing.  (Neither of these receipts is a winner.  Worthless!)
On every odd month, around the 25th, they have a drawing for the two previous months.  If you have saved all of your receipts from the past two months, then you can check online and see if any of the numbers match up with the numbers on your receipts.  Like most lotteries, there are lesser prizes for only getting, say, the last three digits, as opposed to the last 5, or even getting all of them matched perfectly.
I heard that the reason the Taiwanese government instituted this lottery was to encourage retailers to issue receipts, thereby making them more compliant in collecting sales tax.  A lot of small retailers here don't bother issuing receipts, and as a result can fairly easily skim on their sales tax payments.  The idea is that by having a lottery, then customers will want receipts and ask the stores they patronize to issue them.  This way more stores will start to issue receipts.  (It's a carrot approach, versus the stick approach of just seeking out and fining retailers who don't issue receipts, which they may or may not do as well, I don't know.)

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