Kochi: Online lotteries are making a beeline to Kerala. They come with the fanfare and revelry of a merrymaker to cast a wider net and test their own luck in this prime market.
Kerala and West Bengal are the two states with the highest number of lottery enthusiasts in the country, according to surveys. Many reasons for this have been pointed out like the desire to make money without effort and the aspiration for luxuries.
The market for paper-based lotteries in India is to the tune of Rs 50,000 crore. About 20 lakh persons buy a lottery ticket a day. About 100 lottery results are announced daily.
But compared to international trade in lotteries India lags much behind, points out Seiv Shelam, chief operating officer of Fortune Online Lottery, the latest entrant to Kerala. He is also an international consultant who has taken up and implemented many challenging assignments in Europe, Asia and Africa. "Only about 20 per cent of Indians take part in any lottery."
With the coming of online lottery internationally the market grew to Rs 6,00,000 crore. About 90 per cent of all adults in America and Europe have participated in this.
Technological advancement, transparency, and flawless distribution have all made online lottery more attractive, says Vikas Sharaf, CEO of Essar Tele Holdings. Before Fortune, many state government lotteries in collaboration with private companies have made their place in Kerala, like Mega 3 of Meghalaya state government and Super Lotto.
The realisation that the lotteries of other states cannot be prevented from being traded in the state has woken up the Kerala government into acting in this direction. The state government's lotteries have been badly affected by online lotteries with sales falling steadily. This could affect the livelihood of thousands of lottery sellers.
The government has in principle decided on online lottery and is expected to take action in this regard in two weeks. Kerala is also targeting other states that have not started online lotteries. At the same time, reports that the initial spurt in sales has not been sustained have created disenchantment in the market. Though crores of rupees in prize money have been guaranteed, the number of winners was only a handful.
But online lottery companies do not agree with this. Better marketing techniques could help in overcoming this lethargy, and creating a bigger market, they point out. The understanding that the desire for quick money will never cease continues to provide the inspiration for these companies.