New GST will erode lottery revenues: Finance minister

Kerala’s Finance Minister T. M. Thomas Isaac says the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will lead to a “serious erosion” of the state’s lottery revenues – currently worth around Rs. 4,000 crore per year (US$592.9 million), local media reports.

According to Dr. Isaac, once lotteries come under GST, it would force the state to allow the operation of lotteries from other states, which have been banned.

“The banned lotteries from Sikkim and Bhutan can make come back using GST window,” he said.

According to the minister, they were originally banned because they violated the laws governing the operation of lotteries in the country.

“Kerala has had an acrimonious battle with other states and currently imposes a very high tax and does not allow other state lotteries to be sold within its territory,” explained Jay Sayta from Glaws.

Isaac says stakeholders must stand together to fight the return of lotteries that were banned, and said that lottery agents and sellers must submit a mass petition to the Union government not to allow the return of these lotteries.

Unlike lottery run by state government in Kerala, the banned lotteries are operated by private individuals on behalf of the state government of Sikkim and Bhutan, he says.

“These lotteries were operated by mafia-like organisations with money and muscle power.”