In its first year of business, Bhutan Lottery Limited (BLL) made a net profit of Nu 20.9 million (M) last year.

The lottery business paid about Nu 6.3M in tax. 

BLL also announced an 11 percent dividend amounting to Nu 6.16M, officials at the head office in Phuentsholing claimed.

BLL’s chief executive officer (CEO), Phenphay R Drukpa, said their initial aim was to just break-even. “We expected to profit only starting 2018.”

Bhutan lottery was officially launched on August 8, 2016. However, business started at the end of November 2016 with monthly lottery scheme Phuensum Dharim.

In November 2017, BLL launched its second scheme, which is the instant-win lottery Thuensum Scratch.

Meanwhile, Phuensum Dharim, the monthly lottery scheme will close after April this year. A fortnightly scheme would be introduced and people would be able to buy and win in two week’s time.

Marketing manager with BLL, Karma Choden, said the focus would also shift towards rural areas.

“The number of agents would also be increased,” she said, adding that each dzongkhag will have an agent each. “This is to give equal opportunity to all.”

BLL is also expecting more business and earnings in 2018 with the instant lottery in full swing. An online lottery is also in the pipeline.

Karma Choden said that the ‘letter of intent’ has already been submitted to the government.

Considering the huge and potential market, BLL is also working towards starting a lottery in India. 

BLL officials said that the 15 percent commission provided to the nine agents across the country has helped in employment generation. 

Agents have numerous sub-agents functioning.

In 2017, BLL disbursed Nu 15.5M in commission to their agents, which is also passed to the sub-agents.

A buy pack scheme on the lottery papers has helped BLL manage the waste problem. The lottery office spends Nu 50,000 to buy back the 200,000 lottery papers printed in a month.

BLL pays Nu 25 for 100 pieces of lottery papers. BLL has printed more than 3M Phuesum Dharim lottery sheets since the business started, while more than 2M scratch cards have been printed so far.

Karma Choden said the waste is given to Greener Ways. CEO Phenphay R Drukpa said that lottery business did well despite it being done on a trial and error basis. 

Meanwhile, few online lotteries bearing Bhutan brand had also appeared in the initial days creating confusion. 

“But it is now resolved. People now recognise they were fake,” the CEO said adding that their office had also taken a case to court.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing