As Lottery Fever Grips Kerala, State Govt Takes Away the Bumper Prize
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The Kerala state government has added an unprecedented stream of revenue to its kitty that most Indian states don’t have — lottery tickets.
Over 79 million lottery tickets are being sold every week in the state which has a population of just 33.4 million (according to Census 2011), according to a report in the Indian Express.
According to data from the state lottery directorate, Kerala’s revenue from lottery in 2018-19 was Rs 9,276 crore, on which it earned a profit of Rs 1,673 crore. The projected revenue from lottery for the state in 2019-20 is Rs 11,800 crore.
This windfall has made lottery tickets one of the major non-tax revenue streams for Kerala. The state’s share of non-tax revenue from sale of state lotteries has increased to 80.49% in 2016-17 from 38.39% in 2000-01 and 13.4% in 1980-81. In fact, data from the Kerala Economic Review 2018 shows that the rise in non-tax revenue as a proportion of total Gross State Domestic Product is due to the increase in gross receipt from lotteries.
According to the report, “if 60 lakh tickets were printed in 2016, the figure has now reached 1.32 crore”. A source was quoted as saying that there are six weekly tickets sold in Kerala at present, all of which are equally popular. The report added that of the state’s 14 districts, Palakkad and Thrissur were the most active in selling lottery tickets.
The rise in sale of lottery tickets has also resulted in an increase in the number of ticket-sellers or agents in the state. The report quoted S. Kaneshyas, a member of the Kerala State Lottery Agents and Lottery Sellers Welfare Fund Board, as saying that the state has 70,000 registered vendors currently compared with 38,000 in 2016.
The source of income for the agent is the commission earned on selling tickets. According to the report, for a ticket priced Rs 30, the agent gets a commission of Rs 5.80 from the state. In case a ticket wins, 10% of the prize-winning money for the ticket-holder goes to the agent’s pocket.