KOCHI: Albert Einstein, still celebrated as one of the world’s smartest men of all time, attributed success to 99% hard work and 1% luck. When it comes to lottery, the contribution of the latter towards success is a 100%. This doesn’t seem to stop many people, however, as evidenced by the inexorable growth of the legal lottery industry in India — over Rs 30,000 crore currently and growing at 10 -15% annually.
This growth has not been hampered by the slew of bans and restrictions lotteries have faced in many Indian states since the turn of the century. Currently, lotteries are legal only in 12 states (see box).
But this has hardly put a dampener on growth. Out of the states that allow lotteries, the lion’s share comes from Kerala (see box).
The success of the lottery may well spread to other forms of gambling too. Efforts are on to legalise online betting/gaming in other states, especially after the R M Lodha committee’s recommendation earlier this year that casinos should be allowed to operate. Sikkim already has legal casinos, lotteries as well as other betting shops. Goa has legal onshore as well as offshore casinos. Some other states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Meghalaya are looking to legalise casinos/betting.
“The three main benefits of legalising lotteries are increase in revenues to state governments, increase in employment opportunities and may result in reduction of illegal gambling,” said Kamlesh Vijay, Group CEO, Sugal and Damani, one of the largest lottery distributors in India, while B Jay Sayta, Founder of glaws.in, a gambling law website, said, “There are various provisions in the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998 and the Rules framed therein to prevent allurement and addiction amongst masses and reduce chances of cheating.”