Thiruvananthapuram: There is a massive demand for lottery tickets in border districts, which also tops the list in terms of the region from where the majority of winners buy them.
Out of the seven bumper tickets drawn in the last year, three first prizes went to Palakkad. The first prizes of the Monsoon, Christmas, and yesterday's Thiruvonam bumpers went to Palakkad.
Coimbatore native Natarajan, who bought 10 tickets each worth Rs 500 from an agency at Walayar in Palakkad, won the Rs 25 crore first prize of the Thiruvonam bumper.
Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram are at the forefront of ticket sales since people from Tamil Nadu buy tickets in large numbers.
The districts that sold the most number of Onam bumper tickets are Palakkad (7.19 lakh), Thiruvananthapuram (6.33 lakh), Thrissur (5.90 lakh), Ernakulam (5.57 lakh) and Kottayam (3.92 lakh).
However, if the prize crosses the border, there are some hurdles in securing it. Since there is a ban on the sale of lottery tickets in certain states, including Tamil Nadu, the tickets cannot be sold there. The prize winners there should convince the Lottery Department that they bought the tickets when they were in Kerala.
Earlier, there was a trend where people bought tickets from districts that won the prize. Now, the tickets of any district are available across the state.
Though the Lottery Department does not allow this, the agencies exchange tickets with each other and sell tickets across districts. The Lottery Department is turning a blind eye to such practices as sales are its main concern. The sale of tickets as ‘sets’ has also become rampant.
Anoop, a native of Thiruvananthapuram who won the first prize in the last Onam bumper, faced a harrowing experience of not being able to stay in his own house for fear of those knocking on his door asking for monetary assistance.
Following this incident, winners of five of the six bumper prizes drawn after that chose to not reveal their identity. Only the 11 Haritha Karma Sena members from Malappuram, who won the first prize of Rs 10 crore in the monsoon bumper, came forward on their own.
Unprinted tickets can also be drawn, but won’t get prize
How were the unsold and unprinted tickets drawn during the Onam bumper at the Russian Cultural Centre yesterday? Sources in the Lottery Department said in most lottery draws, unsold and unprinted tickets are drawn.
Because the draw method is not to put the tickets together and select one of them and find the first prize winner; this is not possible when around 85 lakh tickets are sold.
The lottery tickets are printed in 12 series. Each series is separated by assigning two English letters. Then there's the six-digit number. The lottery ticket number is a combination of the two.
For example, the number that won the first prize yesterday was TE 230662. When the button is pressed on the machine used for the draw, the numbers rotate through different columns and then stop. That final number is the prize-winning number.
The officials will soon check on the computer whether it is a printed number and whether it is a number sold from lottery offices. That number will be declared the winner only if it has been sold.
All tickets distributed from the lottery office will be considered sold. The Lottery Department will also consider tickets left unsold with the agent as sold tickets.
Though the bumper is worth Rs 25 crore and Rs 15.75 crore is the actual prize, only Rs 12.88 crore lands in the winner’s hands.
The prize breakup
Onam bumper: Rs 25 crore
Agency commission (10%): Rs 2.5 crore
Of the remaining Rs 22.5 crore, the gift tax (30%): Rs 6.75 crore
The amount that lands in the bumper winner’s account: Rs 15.75 crore
Surcharge on tax amount (37%*): Rs 2,49,75,000
The health-education cess on the amount that adds up from tax and surcharge (4%): Rs 36,99,000
The total tax for the amount that lands in the account**: Rs 2.85 crore
The sum after all the taxes: Rs 12,88,26,000
*The surcharge is 15% for Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore, then 25% up to Rs 5 crore, then 37%
**This amount is not charged by the Lottery Department. It is to be paid while filing the income tax return.