Religion, Prosperity, and Lottery Lore: The Linkage of New Religious Networks to Gambling Practices in Thailand

  • Rachelle M. Scott
Part of the Religion and Society in Asia Pacific book series (RSAP)


During visits to Buddhist temples, many Thais listen attentively for any number that a popular monk might reference while preaching; in the same way, numerous lottery seekers make offerings at spirit shrines in the hope of seeing numbers while at the shrine or later in their dreams. In both cases, the procurement of lottery numbers is linked to Buddhist ideas of authority, sanctity, and miraculous powers and to stories of spirits who grant boons to their patrons. This chapter provides a brief history of lottery practice in modern Thailand and the contested relationship between the lottery and government and explores how various media disseminate specific lottery numbers and offer a forum for the creation of lottery lore and new religious networks for prosperity seekers.


Lottery Ticket Good Fortune Good Luck Compulsive Gambling Tree Spirit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Anonymous. (2011). A handbook for buying government Lotto tickets.Google Scholar
  2. Anuman, R., & Čhulālongkō̜nmahāwitthayālai. (1992). Looking back. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ariyabuddhiphongs, V., & Chanchalermporn, N. (2007). A test of social cognitive theory reciprocal and sequential effects: Hope, superstitious belief and environmental factors among lottery Gamblers in Thailand. Journal of Gambling Studies, 23(2), 201–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker, C., & Phongpaichit, P. (2005). A history of Thailand. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bernhard, B. J., Futrell, R., & Harper, A. (2010). Shots from the Pulpit: An ethnographic content analysis of United States anti-gambling social movement documents. UNLV Gaming Research & Review Journal, 14(2), 15–32.Google Scholar
  6. Binde, P. (2007). Gambling and religion: Histories of concord and conflict. Journal of Gambling Issues, 20, 145–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coxhead, I., & Plangpraphan, J. (1999). Economic boom, financial bust, and the decline of Thai agriculture: Was growth in the 1990s too fast? Chulalongkorn Journal of Economics, 11(1), 76–96.Google Scholar
  8. Darlington, S. M. (2012). The ordination of a tree: The Thai Buddhist environmental movement. Albany: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  9. Endres, K. W., & Lauser, A. (Eds.). (2012). Engaging the spirit world: Popular beliefs and practices in modern southeast Asia (Vol. 5). Oxford: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  10. Frankfurter, O. (1904). King Mongkut. Journal of the Siam Society, 1, 191–207.Google Scholar
  11. Ingawanij, M. A. (2007). Nang Nak: Thai Bourgeois heritage cinema. Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 8(2), 180–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ingram, J. C. (1955). Economic change in Thailand since 1850. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Jackson, M. (2011). Life within limits: Well-being in a world of want. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Keyes, C. F. (1999). Moral authority of the Sangha and modernity in Thailand: Sexual scandals, sectarian dissent, and political resistance. Socially engaged Buddhism for the new millennium: Essays in honor of the Ven. Phra Dhammapitaka (Bhikkhu PA Payutto) on his 60th Birthday Anniversary, (pp. 121–147). Bangkok: Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation and Foundation for Children.Google Scholar
  15. Kitiarsa, P. (2012). Mediums, monks, and amulets: Thai popular Buddhism today. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books.Google Scholar
  16. Klima, A. (2002). The funeral casino: Meditation, massacre, and exchange with the dead in Thailand. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Magic Mushroom Pays Dividends to Believers. (2013, November 1). City News Chiang Mai.Google Scholar
  18. McDaniel, J. (2008). Gathering leaves and lifting words: Histories of Buddhist monastic education in Laos and Thailand. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  19. Narada Thera. Trans. (1996). Sigalovada Sutta: The discourse to Sigala (DN 31). Retrieved from
  20. Narada Thera. Trans. (1997). Parabhava Sutta: Downfall (Sn 1.6). Retrieved from
  21. Orsi, R. A. (2004). Between heaven and earth: The religious worlds people make and the scholars who study them. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Scott, R. M. (2009). Nirvana for sale?: Buddhism, wealth, and the Dhammakaya Temple in contemporary Thailand. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Google Scholar
  23. Study Reveals Truth Behind Thailand’s Gambling Addiction. (2013, August 16). The Nation.Google Scholar
  24. Tiyavanich, K. (1997). Forest recollections: Wandering Monks in twentieth-century Thailand. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  25. Vásquez, M. A. (2008). Studying religion in motion: A networks approach. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion, 20(2), 151–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Visalo, P. P. (2012, July 2). Thai Buddhism in the next decade. The Bangkok Post.Google Scholar
  27. Warren, J. A. (2013). Gambling, the state and society in Thailand, c. 1800–1945. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Watthanamahāt, K. (2000). Thepnari. Bangkok: Borisat Sāngsanbuk.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachelle M. Scott
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations