Profile: Seated under the shade of the cinema theatre in the heart of Gelephu town, Kinley Wangdi is busy selling Royal Bhutan Lottery Ltd (RBLL) bumper lottery tickets.
As though he has all the time in the world, Kinley Wangdi is surprisingly calm and quiet when it comes to selling the tickets. He doesn’t shout out for people to come and buy the tickets.
The 37-year-old said that his doesn’t need to scream out for people to come and buy the tickets. “I’ve been in Gelephu for more than two decades and by now I know almost all the people here,” he said. “My face sells the tickets for me.”
However, more than his face, Kinley’s fortune attracts most of his customers. Kinley Wangdi has hit a hat trick for selling out the winning tickets in the last three months.
In November last year, when the RBLL launched its first Phuensum Dharim, the country’s monthly paper lottery, the second prize worth Nu 500,000 was from one of the ticket booklets that Kinley Wangdi had sold.
In the following month, the third prize worth Nu 200,000 was again from one of Kinley’s booklets. Of the five individuals who became millionaires from RBLL’s lottery scheme, last month’s jackpot winner worth Nu 1 million was from a ticket that Kinley’s sub-agent had sold in Gelephu.
“It’s a lucrative business. However, I did very bad business when Phuensum Dharim was first launched last year,” he said. “People were not confident because the lottery was starting again and many had doubts on how it would work. But today, the business is working out well.”
Kinley Wangdi serves as an agent for RBLL in Gelephu and certain parts of Sarpang and Trongsa and Zhemgang. He makes around Nu 25,000 a month excluding the prizes he wins from selling the winning numbers. He has some 15 sub-agents working under him in these areas.
“I say it’s a good business because the sub-agents under me who are mostly graduates earn at least Nu 12,000 a month,” said Kinley Wangdi, adding that since the January’s jackpot prize number was from one of his sub-agents, the seller’s prize worth Nu 50,000 was also given to the sub-agent.
Kinley Wangdi said that although Bhutan’s market for the lottery business is not ideal, the trick is with the agents on how they sell the tickets. On an average, Kinley sells around 200 tickets sitting in the open space, that he calls his office.
Kinley Wangdi also runs an overseas employment agency in Gelephu. “For now I’m focussing more on the lottery business. I’ve handed over my employment business to my staff.”
He said that although there are not many challenges for him currently, the unsold tickets sometimes become expensive for him. “Once I couldn’t sell much and had to keep all the remaining tickets to myself. It was worth Nu 15,000,”
However, he couldn’t win even a single prize from the unsold tickets that he had to keep. “Well, I believe all my luck goes out with my customers because people often request me to select a number for them,” he said.
Kinley Wangdi said that the Phuensum Dharim is more popular because it is cheaper than the bumper lottery.
“Since my sub-agents can’t sell the bumper tickets, I’ve taken it all under me and I’m selling this,” he said. Of the 400 bumper lottery booklets, Kinley Wangdi has managed to sell only 50 as of now.
Younten Tshedup | Gelephu