Receipt Lottery

10.04.2010 § 1

JC. When you arrive in Taiwan you will immediately notice two things when dealing with money.

The first being that in most establishments you will never ever have to tip. If you've been born and raised in places where "tipping" mandatory, represents the level of service you receive, and in some cases is an integral tool in picking up the waitress or will be strange not leaving tip. At first, not tipping may be unnatural to you, but in Asia it is perfectly NORMAL. In fact, I've tried to give tip before and the cashier simply gave it back to me looking confused. So don't pull a social faux pas like I did! Unless the restaurant/dining establishment clearly states they add a service charge, you shouldn't worry about the tip.

Secondly, most places you go will give you a receipt. Unless it's from street vendors or any other place where is seems doubtful they have a receipt machine. I mean you'll know. =P However if you decline this receipt, the cashier will look at you strangely and insist that you take it.  Then you'll set off a chain of events. You'll say that you don't need it because you just bought one drink, you don't want extra garbage, you can keep it etc. He or She will push it towards you. You will turn away and try to leave. The cashier will follow you. You'll start to run. The Cashier will start to run. Eventually, they will hunt you down and you'll end up taking the receipt. You'll ask yourself why. Why are all Taiwanese people so insistent about giving receipts? Let me tell you what's up.  

Each receipt is a lottery ticket. 

According to, a website for foreigners, the Taiwanese government invented the receipt lottery to keep stores more honest about their total sales. With a $2 million dollar prize and a free lottery ticket the Taiwanese government assumed that customers would start demanding receipts from the cashiers. The more receipts issued, the more records of shop transactions there are. Thus leading to more accurate bookkeeping. A good deal for everyone. =)

Now, receipts look like this: 

The highlighted numbers at the top are what you need to pay attention to. 

There are two ways you can "win":

Grand prize: $2 million dollars. There are three chances, meaning three different numbers, that are "winners". The requirements are that all the numbers at the top part of your receipt need to match the official lottery numbers. Every single one. Pretty simple. =) 

The second way you can win cash, is from the "regular" prize numbers: There are three sets of prize numbers, and depending on how many numbers that match from your original receipt. If the last three numbers match (in the picture above 042) the official numbers, you will win $200 NT. If you have four matching numbers you will win $1000 NT, five matching numbers will give you $4000 NT, six matching numbers will award you $10,000 NT, seven numbers will land you $40,000, and eight identical matching numbers will win you $200,000 NT. Remember they have to be the identical to the numbers announced starting from the last three digits. 

The winning numbers are announced on the 25th of every odd month, and you can collect receipts for up to two months. For example the receipts from July (7)- to August (8), will be announced on the 25th of September (9). For $200 dollar prizes you can go to your closest 7-11 and claim your prize there, but to cash in larger amounts you have to go to a lotto center. 

When I heard of this I was excited. No, excited would probably be an understatement. I was crazed. I was absolutely sure that I would win something. Unfortunately when I had heard about the lottery I had already thrown out a bunch of my receipts. Fortunately a few good friends of mine were leaving (Alex, Kristy, Benson =P) and very kindly decided to give me the receipts that they had been hoarding. In addition to my own receipts I had a small paper army.
This may not look like a lot, but it was. 

I eagerly awaited Sept 25, when the first draw of lottery numbers would come out. In the meantime I shamelessly asked my friends for their receipts, divided up my purchases at the 7, and tried to buy as many things as possible. In my mind these were the ultimate strategies to win, the road to victory. I was already imagining the expensive meal I would eat with my multiple lottery winnings. Finally, the day had arrived and I had recruited KC to help me read through my mountain of receipts. We poured through them meticulously, checking one after another to see if we had won anything. Looking, scanning, comparing, analyzing....

Finally, we reached the last receipt and were completely and utterly dismayed. Nothing! DX DESPAIR. 

GAH. Next time lottery. NEXT TIME. 

Foreigners can check out the lottery numbers/rules here!


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