Everyone's probably imagined what they would do if they won a little (or a lot of) extra cash through the lottery. A car, a boat, pay off some debts or travel the world, there are a lot of dreams when it comes to the luck of the draw. The cool thing about living in Taiwan is that I get to accumulate hundreds of tickets for their lottery, and have a fun time checking my winnings 6 times a year. So what's so different about the system here?
How to participate? While Taiwan does have your standard pay to play type lottery, there's another type, and all you have to do to participate is make your everyday purchases. All receipts here come on the same standard form (though some are now printing their own kinds), with an 8-digit serial number on the top. This serial number is your chance to win up to NT$ 2 million (about US$ 67,000.)
Some of my January/February and March/April receipts
How often? Every 2 months starts a new series, so when I first arrived receipts said ~1-2 near the top and came with purple writing, now they say ~3-4 and are green. The drawing for the January-February drawing will occur near the end of March. Since you get these for EVERYTHING with the exception of street vendors and a few other things, you can rack up quite the collection between daily 7-11 beverage stops, grabbing lunch, and site seeing. We'll see if I can find any luck next week when the drawing happens! Below are some pictures of these “tickets.”
Who can participate? As long as your visa is valid, you can claim your winnings, it doesn't matter your citizenship/nationality.
How do I check my winnings? A good English site to check on is Tealit, they post the most recent numbers.
Redeeming depends on your prize. If it's NT$10,000 or less you can redeem it at any post office location. If it's any of the higher prizes you have to contact Taiwan Cooperative Bank. If your prize is NT$1,000 or less there's no tax, if it's higher you'll be charged a 20% fee.
Why do they have this? This started as an attempt by the government to get more businesses to keep all their income on the books. They figured if your chances of winning millions are up for grabs, you'll demand a receipt with every purchase forcing businesses to have to keep more accurate records.
This is just from a few days!
So get a shoe box, jar, whatever your preferred method of storing things is going. Have friends over and make a game out of checking your winnings. You probably won't win a ton, but a little extra night market money never hurt.