When Lottery becomes LOOT-ERYPosted: April 8, 2011
“If you can see only what light reveals and hear only what sound announces, then in truth you do not see nor do you hear.” (Kahlil Gibran)
Who buys lottery tickets? Who consumes illicit liquor? Mostly the poor. Who benefits by the sale of liquor and lottery tickets? The sellers, of course! The Government makes money by way of taxes, government officials by way of bribes, and businessmen and middlemen in different ways. The poor consumers and their dependents end up as losers.
So what should the Government do? Ban lotteries and liquor altogether or try and regulate the trade? Obviously, only the latter is feasible.
Smoking, consumption of alcohol, drug abuse, gambling and lotteries are different forms of addiction. The degree of addiction varies according to the nature of the activity and the involvement of the individual. Instead of spending crores of rupees on the eve of the elections to advertise its achievements, the Government could have launched an awareness campaign and made some attempt to let the people know the truth about lotteries. Fake lotteries are like fake currency notes – none of us can tell the difference. It is not that there are no winners, but for every winner there are thousands and thousands of losers.
It has been said that the Bhutan lottery alone (please note that this is not another State lottery but that of another country) sold tickets worth Rs.40 crores daily for 30 months during the LDF rule – a mind boggling figure of 36,000 crores. Megha Distributors (owned by Santiago Martin) claimed to be the sole agent, but the Government of Bhutan stated otherwise.
The CM himself estimated the lottery industry’s earnings at 80,000 crores. If this is the amount that the poor misguided people of Kerala had lost by purchasing lottery tickets during the LDF rule, how much was won by the winners (if any), how much went to the 2.5 lakh lottery ticket sellers who depend on this industry for their livelihood, how much came into the coffers of the Government, and how much went into the hands of Santiago Martin and other kingpins is anybody’s guess. As the LDF Government has been dilly-dallying instead of ordering an investigation, the truth still remains under wraps.
Online lottery is another grey area. The daughter in law of the CM was reported to be the joint owner of an online lottery company. Does that sound fishy? Well, what can an ordinary person like me say?
How Megha sold Bhutan lottery tickets, asks Chandy (Oct.2010)
Case to be filed against Santiago Martin & John Kennedy’ (Nov.2010)