THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “Lady luck smiled on me at the right time,” says Santhosh hailing from Idukki. He won the Rs 75-lakh first prize of the Christmas-New Year bumper in 2001.
“My family had some debts to pay off at the time. Winning the lottery helped me repay the loans and buy some land. Most importantly, I could help out my relatives as I bought land for my two brothers and brother-in-law,” he told Express.
Santhosh started buying lottery tickets in his twenties. He never won a prize until he hit the jackpot when he was 34. “Still, I try my luck. After the big prize, I could win only small prizes, those of Rs 500 upto a maximum of Rs 5,000,” he said.
The self-employed youth says he was never obsessed with trying his luck. He does not spend big bucks on lottery tickets or resort to bizarre tricks like buying a bundle of tickets or those bearing the same number but of different series.
The one-time winner is all praise for the Kerala Lotteries which conducts the sale and holds the draw in a fair and transparent manner. “People’s trust is a big thing. I never bought online or other-state lotteries when they were available in the state,” he said.
But the difference between the prize money and the net earning for a winner is quite disappointing, he says. Though he clinched Rs 75 lakh first prize, the net earning after deducting agency commission and tax was Rs 36 lakh.
“The actual earning for the winners of the Rs 12 crore first prize of Thiruvonam bumper lottery this year is about Rs 7.56 crore. This huge difference is bad. The department should ensure that the winner gets an amount close to what is promised on the ticket,” he said.