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MSIL seeks curbs on online lotteries

By Our Special Correspondent

Bangalore Oct. 30. Mysore Sales International Ltd. (MSIL), which manages the Karnataka State Lottery, and the Director of State Lotteries today brought to the fore alleged fraudulent operations of lotteries from North-eastern States, including online and Internet lotteries, and said regulations should be imposed in the interest of the people.

Although MSIL and the Directorate of State lotteries have brought the matter to the notice of the Government, the authorities concerned have not take action. The Karnataka State lottery, despite the transparent manner of its conduct, is in trouble because of lotteries operating here.

The Chairman of MSIL, G.K. Venkatshiva Reddy, the Managing Director, Meera Saxena, and the Director (Marketing) of MSIL, M.K. Chidambaranath, told presspersons here today that a ban on Playwin online lottery, demanded by Opposition parties, would not have a big impact. They pointed out that nearly six private online lotteries were operating in the State, and the Government could only ban the one permitted by it. Since banning lotteries was out of the purview of the Government, it could only regulate the conduct of lotteries. The number of daily draws, for instance.

The total daily turnover of lotteries was about Rs. 15 crore, and most of the business was cornered by lottery companies licensed by North-eastern States apart from online and Internet lotteries.

The share of the Karnataka State Lottery was negligible although it was the leading paper lottery. A large number of people, both in urban and rural areas, participated in online and Internet lotteries.

Mr. Reddy said Karnataka might be compelled to initiate measures on the lines of Punjab and Haryana, which had banned lotteries conducted by North-eastern States. Regular police raids and such other actions helped implement the ban. The Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh governments had banned lotteries, and lottery operators had shifted to Karnataka, which proved to be a lucrative market.

Lotteries conducted by North-eastern States had over 400 daily draws commencing at around 8 a.m. Online and Internet lotteries also had a number of draws. The operators of most online lotteries did not issue tickets. There was also no guarantee of distribution of prize money even though most of the operators claimed to earmark 80 per cent of the turnover for prize money. The tickets of some North-eastern States lotteries were printed in Kannada and clearly indicated that they were for sale only in Karnataka.

Ms. Saxena said the State Government had no revenue from lotteries other than Playwin, Karnataka State lottery, and a few others.

It was therefore time to impose strict regulations to regulate the lottery business.

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