Minnesota authorities charge duo in connection with illegal Thai lottery ring

Illegal lottery gambling ring taken down!

Minnesota authorities charge duo in connection with illegal Thai lottery ring

An illegal gambling ring in Minnesota has been taken down, according to authorities.

Mimicked a lottery in Bangkok

Police in St. Paul have arrested two people in an attempt to thwart an illegal Thai gambling ring that mimics a lottery held in Bangkok, according to police reports obtained by KMSP-TV.

While the game is legal in Bangkok, officials said it isn't legal in Minnesota. Because of that, King Thao, 57, and Choua Yang, 61, were both arrested and are facing four counts each of various acts of illegal gambling.

The investigation started in 2021

In June 2021, an investigation began when special agents with Minnesota's Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division started looking into an illegal gambling operation located at 995 University Avenue in St. Paul.

Investigators previously looked at this same location and found several people who were associated with the illegal lottery.

How did the illegal lottery work?

For this illegal gambling ring, it was based on playing the Thai lottery, which is conducted on the 1st and 15th of each month. The bettor would place cash bets with a seller on several numbers.

From there, the seller would then record the bets and give the bettor a yellow, handwritten, paper receipt. The receipt included the date, numbers, and book number of the bet. If the bettor happens to match their numbers, the receipt would then be used to claim any winnings.

The operators would sell tickets or betting slips, collect the money tax-free from these bettors, and then pay out any of the winning bets. Officials said the yellow receipt is a distinct characteristic of the system.

Search warrant executed

After doing some investigating, authorities executed a search warrant in November 2021 of the St. Paul address where they observed people selling yellow lottery tickets.

During that search, police said they found around 18 receipt booklets (with multiple yellow receipts), three suspected Thai lotto booklets, two envelopes containing yellow receipts, and several notebooks with writings in them.

Officials said Yang was the owner of the store where the search warrant was executed. Police also found yellow Thai lottery receipts in a register in the store.

Legal and record-breaking

On the flip side of things, one lucky Minnesota Lottery player recently broke some records in the state — legally, of course. The highest-ever Gopher 5 jackpot was recently won by a player in Baxter.

The record-breaking jackpot was won on Wednesday, June 26, and made it up to $2.05 million. One lucky ticket matched all five of the numbers drawn to win the jackpot. Those winning numbers happened to be 16, 29, 35, 43, and 46.

The winning ticket was purchased at Orton's Baxter Holiday, located at 5610 Fairview Road in Baxter, which received a $5,000 bonus from the Minnesota Lottery for selling the winning ticket.

The $2.05 million jackpot was the biggest Gopher 5 jackpot in the state's history. The previous biggest Gopher 5 jackpot was $2.03 million, which was won by a group of 22 co-workers from the Watonwan County Highway Department/Public Works Department on November 8, 2005.

Enjoy playing the lottery, and please remember to play responsibly.


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