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`Lottery ban a blow to 10 lakh people'

By Our Staff Reporter



A lottery vendor at the Kozhikode bus-stand withdraws all his tickets from the table following the news of the ban on lotteries, on Tuesday. Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, JAN. 25 . At least 10 lakh people, including the family members of lottery agents and vendors, are likely to be affected by the Government's decision to ban all kinds of lotteries in the State, according to sources in the Kerala State Lotteries (KSL).

The KSL usually gives the prize money from the sales proceeds. With a huge load of unsold tickets, there could be some uncertainty over the prize money of earlier draws, a senior official told The Hindu

About 50 lakh lottery tickets, worth Rs. 5 crores, draws of which were to have been conducted over the next two weeks, were already with the KSL's agents, he said. In the State capital district alone, 33 lakh tickets were in the market.

"The Government would have to reimburse this money to them. We estimate another loss of about Rs. 80 lakhs, as tickets for next three months have already been printed," he said.

The huge network of sub-agents and small-time vendors was what pushed lottery sales, the official pointed out. Any rehabilitation scheme for those involved in the trade would have to take them also into account.

According to him, the KSL was the first and the only lottery in the country to be run directly by the State Government, right from the printing of tickets to the disbursement of prize money. Since 1967 when it was launched, the department had remained one of the few profit-making ventures of the Government, while maintaining utmost transparency and accountability.

Huge profits

Following strict market regulations, which were enforced to keep fake paper lotteries of other States under check, the sale of KSL had shown a dramatic increase in recent months, he said. In the State capital district alone, some 2.35 crore tickets were sold in December, against the usual average sale of 35 lakh ticket. "In the last financial year, our turnover was Rs. 140 crores, with a profit margin of Rs. 20 crores," he said.

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