PNG introduces the Mobile ‘Stupid Tax’

By Emmanuel Narokobi

The ‘Stupid Tax’ or more commonly known as ‘Gambling’ has always been a great way for Lotteries the world over to make money from people’s stupidity. But for PNG’s sake should we add that perhaps low education and low social standards should be something to be wary of when making money from people through gambling?

I think Gambling has its place and better that it is regulated rather than being underground. To be honest I wouldn’t mind running a scratch lotto or something like that which is based outside and away from influences of alcohol because I can think of the countless hospitals I would love to assist with that sort of money.

But as everyone knows gambling is a restricted activity much like alcohol where licences are issued to operate such activities. The main purpose of the licence is obviously to regulate how these types of businesses are conducted because of its potential to be socially counter productive if it is abused. So perhaps in a developed country stupidity is one thing for getting mixed up in gambling, but what about PNG? What are the controls here then for abuse? And more alarmingly how do you impose restrictions for gambling on a mobile phone? Oh and are there any social programs associated with this SMS Lottery?

Customers to gamble using Digicel mobile phones


Exciting times are approaching in gambling. After more than eight years, Papua New Guineans will start, this Wednesday, play lottery at the comfort of their Digicel mobile phones. For K4 and a 20toea fee, you can become millionaires every week regardless of where you are anywhere in the country. Draws will be done every ‘Super Saturdays’ and you can enter as many times as you like.
On Wednesday night, National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) Chief Executive Officer Simon Sanangke will enter his first entry and kick off the lottery game in Port Moresby.

ALL you have to do is text 6677 and enter six numbers of your choice which will be entered into the weekly draw.
The draws will be done on a computerised system and results will be forwarded straight to your mobile phones. If your numbers are picked, PNG Lottery, the company managing the lottery game, will contact you and get your personal details.
Your win can be collected in Port Moresby or delivered to you if you live in a remote area. If you live in an urban area and have a bank account, your win will be remitted straight into your bank account.

Second level prizes will be a quarter of the jackpot while third level prizes will be a quarter of the second level prize. For instance, if the first prize is K1 million, the second level prize will be K25,000 while the third level prize will be K8300. The server and systems that will run the lottery has been installed right next to the office of the NGCB in downtown which will make it easy to run and regulate.

PNG Lottery managing director Paul Siwi told the Post-Courier in an exclusive interview last Friday that mobile phone lottery would be a convenient and cheaper gambling venture with a very high stake that could change your life.

“You just compare it to poker machine. You lose more quickly in poker machines and the jackpot is only K10,000 but for the same amount, you can submit as many entries as you can and become a millionaire through mobile phone lottery,” Mr Siwi said. ery easy to identify regular players through their mobile phone numbers and bonuses will be remitted through their phones to play.
Options like Christmas and New Year bonuses will be thrown in such as if your bonus number is picked from your entries on top of your regular numbers, you could win a landcruisers or some other prizes. The last lottery company in PNG, Go Lotto went bust some 8 years ago after differences between shareholders and directors.”

[I have to declare here that I am actively involved in SMS campaigns for marketing so if I am successful in getting more campaigns out there for clients I too may be part of the issue here. But then again I think in my defence I can say that I am involved in marketing and not active gambling. But it makes me wonder, what is the difference between people winning prizes and cash from companies as part of marketing promotions as opposed to winning money from a company that’s called ‘PNG Lottery’? Anyway thats an impractical theoretical arguement so I wont go there.]