Goods and services tax (GST) collections were a major concern during the initial few months of its implementation. However, one business that made significant contribution to revenues of a handful of states was the lottery business.
According to the data sourced from All India Federation of Lottery Trade & Allied Industries (AIFLTAI), the nine states that have legalised lottery, collected Rs 3,948 crore from GST revenue in the nine months of FY18 after GST roll-out in July 2017.
West Bengal topped the list with GST collections worth Rs 2,150 crore from the lottery business in FY18. Kerala and Maharashtra occupied the second and third spot with collections of Rs 908 crore and Rs 797 crore, respectively, in the same period. Punjab and Goa collected Rs 85 crore and Rs 8 crore, respectively.
Other than GST collections, the nine states (where lottery is legal) collected an additional Rs 1,852 crore in other revenues. Kerala earned Rs 1,691 crore in other revenues in the year taking its total revenue from lottery business at Rs 2,607 crore. West Bengal comes second with total revenues of Rs 2,182 crore.
The nine states – West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Assam and Goa – earned a total of Rs 5,800 crore in GST and other revenues, thus providing an additional avenue to them to carry out their social welfare schemes.
Kamlesh Vijay, group chief executive, Sugal & Damani, a distributor for state lotteries, said that revenues earned from lottery business are utilised by states to fund sports promotion, education and public health, among others, and is a big source of revenue.
“Kerala, for instance, has been using lottery to fund various social welfare schemes and that same can be emulated by other states as a viable source of revenue,” said Vijay. He said that recently the Kerala finance minister announced in the Budget that the resource mobilisation for the comprehensive health scheme will be done through Kerala lottery funds.
He said that he has written to the Prime Minister about the potential of the lottery business in nation building. Stating that it has potential to contribute anywhere between Rs 35,000 crore and Rs 50,000 crore on an annual basis which could be used to meet the objective of public welfare schemes without any burden on the state exchequer, while called for PM’s intervention in framing rules and regulations for healthy growth of the business. He added that the lottery business has the potential to generate over 10 lakh jobs in the country.
“We have asked for developing a robust infrastructure for operation of lottery across the country and to create appropriate rules and regulations to ensure that the country has a robust mechanism to safeguard the interest of all stakeholders,” said Vijay. He added that he has also proposed to have technological tools that ensure responsible behaviour and a mechanism for excessive play. He said that there can be a mechanism that ensures that a limit is set for an individual while buying lottery so that there is some restriction on an individual’s exposure.