The National Lotteries Board (NLB), a state-owned institution is known to be the most profitable lotteries entity in the entire country, and for its contribution to the Consolidation Fund and other Government institutions. During the last six months, the NLB has offered over 90 million worth of total cash prizes. The whole amount, exceeding 4.1 billion rupees has been distributed among the winners. The NLB is attempting to be in league with private sector organisations by implementing the private sector principles in order to accelerate the efficiency of the organisation. K V Prabath Sandaya Theja, the Additional General Manager, NLB speaks about the progress.
Can you elaborate on the performance of the NLB in the recent past?
The NLB has a proud history of over 55 years. Initially we offered only one lottery ticket, called Arogya, to the market. Today, the NLB offers ten different lotteries with grand prizes. With the stewardship of Shyamila Perera, Chairperson and Board of Directors of the NLB, the organisation underwent a transition, during which we introduced a new corporate identity and logo. The NLB has performed exceedingly well over the recent past, and this remarkable performance was a result implemented directly over the last three years. In 2016, our revenue stood at 20.1 billion rupees, which was a historical milestone in the journey of the NLB. With this, we are now planning to sustain our performances accordingly.
The NLB is a major contributor to the Government income. Can you elaborate on this?
During the first six months of 2018 alone, the NLB has contributed to the Consolidation Fund by 960 million rupees. Through our dedicated CSR arm, Neeroga, we contribute to the National Kidney Fund every year. Also, the NLB’s different brands contribute to many Government funds including Sri Lanka’s Farmer’s Trust Fund of the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and the National Sports Development Fund. Through Jaathika Samptha, the NLB generates funds on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Labour.
The NLB Has Performed Exceedingly Well Over The Recent Past…
Our newest initiative is raising funds for housing development projects, through the Sevana lottery ticket. Throughout the years the NLB has produced a great number of multi-millionaires.
What are the initiatives cultivated by the NLB to build a strong brand presence in the digitalised world?
Many developed countries have introduced online lotteries and ATMs/vending machines. These systems should also be introduced to Sri Lanka gradually as the agent network is still reluctant to move forward with digitalisation. Though they see this as a potential threat, it is an opportunity that enables them to reach untapped markets. Ideally this is a segment of the market consisting of the upper and working class people as well as the millennials.
We have introduced a SMS based lottery system and we are gradually planning to reach more customers via the system. At present, we have an active user base of over 26,000 users and by the end of this year we are planning to reach 100,000 users via the system. Out of the total population of the country, only 15 per cent tend to purchase lottery tickets. Our aim is to double the existing market share. We are going to reach our goal soon through various sales platforms & channels. Sooner we will have a modern organisation equipped with the latest technology, on par with other global lottery bodies.
Can you elaborate on challenges the NLB faces?
We have a good agent network which runs all over the country amounting to 2,500 dealers. All together 15,000 sales assistants are involved in selling lottery tickets islandwide. In fact, the strategic management and maintenance of relationships with our agent network is of paramount importance. On the other hand, a lottery ticket isn’t a necessity. Therefore, it is our responsibility as a dynamic brand to strategically position it as an essential item in the target market. We are also endeavouring to create value to our stakeholders; especially to the Government, customers and our agent network. We always strive to live true to our values and maintain integrity in our operations.
We Are Hoping For A Record Performance This Year. We Believe That The True Value We Bring To Our Customers Is Giving Wings To Their Dreams.
The agent network of the NLB plays a pivotal role in its core operations. What can you tell us about this?
As I have mentioned, with a massive agent and sales network, we cover almost all the parts of the country. Though people assume selling a lottery ticket is a simple task, there is in reality a restless line of work behind the scenes. We have to issue tickets each and every day and conduct a draw at the end of the day to announce the winners. A recursive task of this magnitude requires a lot of hard work and our staff perform their part well to keep the ball rolling. Furthermore, the NLB as a responsible government entity, is contributing to several cultural, educational and social events, which are of national importance.
Moving forward what is the strategic direction of the NLB?
We envisage a long future for the NLB. Today, we are selling over 20,000 lottery tickets per day and our target is to increase the sales volume up to 100,000 tickets per day. We are hoping for a record performance this year. We believe that the true value we bring to our customers gives them wings to their dreams.
The National Lotteries Board throughout the years has been making thousands of dreams come true for many Sri Lankans. For more than five decades this in turn has supported the country’s development. It aspires to become the catalyst in upgrading living standards by contributing to the national economy for reach ing its potential. In achieving our strategic goals, we are also looking forward to nurturing the future of our country.