An Online Lottery Run By Myanmar Opposition Sold Out In One Hour

A lottery run by Myanmar’s parallel government was so well received that all tickets sold out in just over an hour on the launch day, despite the regime’s official threats to punish anyone who played.
“Victorious Spring” lottery, named after Myanmar’s popular revolution against the junta that began in February, was introduced by the National Unity Government (NUG) to raise funds for civil servants who are on strike to protest against the regime.
After the coup in February, hundreds, if not thousands, of government employees left their jobs in protest. Many of them have fled into hiding after the junta retaliated against them by either sacking or jailing them, or issuing arrest warrants for them.
Their Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) has had such an impact that the regime is still unable to run the country effectively. The NUG says 70 percent of the proceeds from the lottery will go to support the strikers, while the remainder will be kept by the winners. The NUG was formed by lawmakers of the ousted National League for Democracy government and other ethnic representatives in April and has enjoyed widespread support both at home and abroad.
The sale of lottery tickets by a shadow government is unprecedented in Myanmar’s history. So is the public support it has garnered.
A total of 50,000 lottery tickets were sold in just over an hour after they were launched, earning NUG 100 million kyats (about $60,760).
“Thank you very much for your enthusiastic support. It’s important that you be patient as there are many people who want to play the lottery,” organizers said on the lottery’s Facebook page, soothing people who were unable to buy a ticket.
After the coup, the regime’s national lottery was almost destroyed. Pre-coup, it was famous for its 1.5-billion-kyat first prize. In March, the public boycotted all payments to the government, including taxes and lottery tickets.
Gaming is usually the last thing on the minds of people playing the NUG lottery. Rather, they see it as a way to show their support for the government they believe in. To put it another way, it means lending a helping hand to topple the regime.
“I’m just trying to contribute what I can.”. “I don’t care if I win or not,” a supporter in Yangon said on condition of anonymity.
In the days preceding the launch of the lottery, the regime threatened legal action against anyone who participated, via state-run newspapers.
U Nyi Nyi Hlaing, director of the Aung Balay national lottery, called the NUG’s lottery “illegal” and said that anyone involved-operators or players-could be punished.
He said that as the payment is made online, the Central Bank would take serious action against those involved in financial transactions, referring to the country’s nascent digital payment system.
His warnings fell on deaf ears, as one might expect.
In the afternoon of Monday, the NUG abruptly suspended ticket sales because the system was overwhelmed, asking people to hold their generosity for a while as it needed to process more than 70,000 tickets.

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