|dc.description.abstract||This research has the objectives to study the identies of middle-class underground lotto gamblers and the subsequent development of the communication network. The study examines the connection among major dealers, small dealers, sellers, and middle-class underground lotto gamblers. It is a qualitative research utilizing in-depth interview for data collection from 15 respondents from Nakhon Ratchasima Province. The respondents have more than 5 years experience with income more than 18,000 baht. Consideration would be made based on the occupation, family reputation, and lifestyle. Snowball sampling was used to access respondents. The 10 months period of study was August 1, 2019 to May 2, 2020. The researcher analyzed the text and context with supplementary field observation as a gambler to gain the insider view. The research findings are presented as follows:
1) There are 8 underground lotto gamblers, who are involved in the gambling habit because they want the thrill, entertainment, and networking with others. Middle-class underground lotto gamblers prefer to place bets with people they know, who generally have a good social standing and modern lifestyle. These people have graduated from both local and international institutions. They regularly join social activities and have a limit on the bets between 300-10,000 baht/draw. Most of the people started the gambling habit as a consequence of economic problems arising from political conflicts. As a result, they turned to gambling as a means for entertainment to help them through tough times. In addition, middle-class underground lotto gamblers depend on the supernatural for success. Fortune seeking becomes an important part of the characteristics of the gambler as successful business people, who have honor, status, and good education. Those, who can guess numbers accurately, are considered as lucky, having high merit with expansive social connections, and difficult to access. The presentation of underground lotto gamblers in media is different. They are presented as fortune seekers, who are fun loving, have stable business, always lucky winning lottery, help society, have a good heart, love merit making, have friends in many places, generous sharing good numbers, not affected by gambling, and willing to reveal themselves in the real and social media world within limited circles.
2) The 1 dealer, 2 sellers, and 4 gambler and sellers, started the business by absorbing the behavior from people around them. There are both old and new sellers. Some of them gamble and sell underground lotto. They are careful not to make it affect their profitability. The financial circulation in the past was as high as 30 million baht. The children generation of dealers would make about 10 million baht. Sellers have sales volume of about 3,000 – 50,000 baht/draw. Dealers and sellers can openly receive bets when they have a good relationship with police, which facilitates small-time dealers. They can contact the major dealers easily on their phone at anytime. Technology has replaced the stringers. The relationship in the network both in reality and virtual world are done openly. Thus, the underground lotto business is a means of accumulation of power and influence. This is the identity of the dealer that cannot be passed on.
This research provides the direction for the development of understanding about the phenomenon of the middle-class underground lotto gambling in the context of the culture of fortune seeking in the digital age. It has developed knowledge about the creation of gamblers’ communication network, which is beneficial for development of knowledge in various fields. This reflects the underground business phenomenon in Thai society. ||th