Kerala

Hard times for purveyors of luck

Lottery ticket vendors in dire straits after govt. cancels sale, postpones draws

Luck has run out for K.G. Unni, a lottery ticket vendor at Alinchuvadu Junction, near Vyttila, in Ernakulam.

He had to abandon the kiosk set up six years ago the other day after the State Lotteries Department cancelled the sale of 14 series of tickets and postponed the draw of 10 others in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over two lakh wayside lottery ticket vendors are in dire straits now with the government move. This include elderly women, young mothers, the physically challenged, and even college and school students.

Till the other day, they were everywhere. On hospital premises, cinema halls, outside liquor outlets and police stations, court complexes, bus terminals, railway stations, and traffic signals.

Suddenly, they are out of sight. “Before the corona outbreak, I used to earn around ₹600 a day. After the outbreak, I lost ₹12,000 by way of cancellation of tickets. No agent will take back the cancelled tickets,” said Unni.

The Lotteries Department suffered a loss of around ₹3 crore on account of the printed tickets, said Amit Meena, Director of the department.

“The tickets were cancelled and draws postponed as part of the social distancing campaign. The cancelled ones could be resold later. Agents and sellers survive on the commission offered on tickets. Wayside vendors, the last point of sales, may get an amount equivalent to 5 to 10% of the ticket price,” he said.

Buoyed by last year’s sale of ₹10,000 crore, the State hoped to rake in ₹12,000 crore this year through ticket sales, said P.R. Jayaprakash, chairman of the Lottery Agents and Sellers Welfare Fund Board.

“Last year, around ₹4,800 crore was distributed as prize money. However, the COVID-19 outbreak has dashed the hopes of thousands of sellers as well as the department alike,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 1:50:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hard-times-for-purveyors-of-luck/article31145668.ece

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