Kerala Jackpot

Lottery is a form of gambling. Kerala State Lottery was started in the year 1967. The initiative was taken by the then State Finance Minister Sri. P.K. Kunhu. During that period Kerala was suffering from acute unemployment. The number of unemployed youth at the beginning of the third five year plan was above 1.3 million1. The shift from agriculture to industrial and commercial activities, the craze for white collar jobs, the growth of service sector, insufficient increase in non tax revenue such as interest, dividend and profit, increased public expenditure etc. were the factors that led the finance minister to think of a supplementary source of income for the state.

Thus lottery was introduced mainly for reducing unemployment and to a certain extent for supporting the state revenue. Lotteries were conducted by private agencies at that time. Later private lotteries were banned. Today, only the state government conducts lottery. Rules and regulations for conducting lotteries have been framed and lotteries have become a common affair now. At present it gives employment to more than 3 lakh people and contributes, more than Rs. 10 crores a year to the state government by way of profit. Income tax deducted from the prize amount also comes to crores of rupees. Above all, large amount is lying with the state government as undistributed prize.

Started as a monthly programme Kerala State lottery is currently having on an average 5 draws a week. The first prize distributed in a draw has increased from Rs. 50000 to Rs. 1 crore and even more. Total sale of tickets has also increased from Rs.75 lakhs to Rs.125 crores a year. Thus it is felt that the lotteries play a significant role in the life of Kerala people.

But research scholars, academicians and policy makers have not attempted much on the subject. This research gap motivated the scholar to choose this topic. Research problem can be rigorously identified and conceptualised only after a detailed literature review.
A survey among 300 samples were made from the different regions – southern central and northern. The districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kannur were selected at random for the purpose and 100 samples from each district were selected and studied to analyze the motives behind buying tickets and the extent of faith the public has in the Kerala State Lottery. A survey among 90 respondents was made from winners of large prize amounts to analyze the pattern of utilization of prize money.

A survey among 150 samples was also made from the sellers of tickets to analyze the income earned by them from this activity. The sample sizes were kept low because of the difficulties in getting the relevant group. The Director of Kerala State Lotteries, a few district lottery officers, a few very large and very small sellers of tickets, the President of Kerala Lottery Agents Association (KLAA) etc. were also contacted and interviewed for their opinions and attitudes about the Kerala State Lottery. Collected data were analysed using appropriate and relevant techniques.