Now, high-tech lotteries

The mobile-linked online lottery is likely to catch the fancy of a large segment of urbanites who are hooked to electronic lotteries.

LOTTERY VENDORS in the city are going high-tech. The age of lottery boys dressed in ragged clothes and resembling street urchins is passe.

The lottery boy of the future is a far cry from his conventional image etched in the minds of citizens. In a few days time, the city will have lottery boys vending tickets from slick and state-of-the-art portable vending units.

Says Biju Purushothaman, distributor for a new online lottery company that is all set to launch its city operations: "The agents will be issued mobile portable units which are a little bigger than a Nokia Communicator unit.

The vendors will scour the streets for customers. The portable unit operates on GSM technology. The units will operate online in areas where there is cell phone coverage'', he says. Mr. Biju says the company has also table top units and will offer good competition to other major players in the field.

The mobile-linked online lottery is likely to catch the fancy of a large segment of urbanites who are hooked to electronic lotteries. Online lottery promoters view the large crowds in front of electronic lottery kiosks in the city as a sure sign of good business.

Like coke-fountains and coffee-vending machines, the online lottery kiosks have overnight become part of the urban landscape.

The Sikkim State Lottery department was the first to introduce the electronic lottery vending kiosks in the city.

Soon online lottery kiosks sprouted at shopping malls, restaurants, junction corners and photo-studios in the city.

The game, which promises easy profit to those daring to try their luck, is played by buying a `play-slip' that allows the buyer to play up to six boards each of the lottery. For one board, the price is set at Rs. 10.

The buyer can select six numbers from the board, which offers a selection from number 1 to 49. The buyers also have an option of allowing the computer to make a lucky pick for them.

On each draw date, there will be a random drawing of six numbers. If all the six numbers on your ticket match the six numbers drawn, then the ticket holder wins a jackpot of Rs. 2 crores.

The kiosks all over the country are Internet-linked to the Lottery Headquarters. The winning numbers are advertised over television or newspapers and could also be known from the vending kiosks itself.

Many businessmen who own property along the arterial M.G. Road have become franchises for online lottery sales.

But the flip side of the story is that many handicapped people, un-employed youth and street children who make a living selling conventional lottery tickets have been severely affected. However, instant lotteries, wayside roulettes and raffles continue to lure citizens looking for quick and easy money.

By Anand G.

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