Rugby World Cup lottery lands Fiji in trouble

A national lottery which was organised to help raise funds for Fiji to participate in the Rugby world cup could have the opposite effect as the organisers now face a fine.


The lottery could end up deepening the Fiji Rugby Union’s financial problems as they face a fine of F$125,000 (US$82,500) for discounting tickets.


Fiji’s Commerce Commission threatened to impose the fine after the Fiji Rugby Union reduced the price of tickets from F$20 (US$11) to F$10 to boost sluggish sales.


The Commission has given the union five days to comply with a series of demands to avoid the fine, which would severely damage its already perilous financial position.


The union is required to advertise in all daily newspapers, offering to repay F$10 to anyone who bought a ticket at the original price.


The lottery, which was drawn last week, carried cash prizes of F$100,000, F$70,000 and F$30,000 – substantial sums in the Pacific nation where wages are low.

 

The Commerce Commission has ordered the union not to pay prizewinners until its instructions have been complied with.

Fiji Rugby Union chairman Bill Gavoka said his union was “shocked” by the Commerce Commission’s directive and believed it had complied with all terms of its lottery permit.


“Put very simply, the permit did not prohibit us from discounting the price of the ticket and like any business, we used that ability to discount as a way of moving inventory that was not selling,” Gavoka said in a statement.


“In addition, it was restricted to a very limited period and the overriding concern was to maximize the sale of the tickets for the benefit of our boys, the Flying Fijians.”

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