Essel launches Maha Lotto, eyes other markets

MUMBAI: Subhash Chandra's online lottery juggernaut just gets bigger and bigger. Following the successful launch of Maharashtra's first online lottery "Megawin Bonus Ball", E-Cool Gaming Solutions, unveiled India's biggest online lottery-"The Megawin Maha Lotto" on behalf of the Maharashtra Government.

The Chandra-promoted Essel Group extended its online lottery business with one more special initiative, a mega jackpot of Rs 500 million. And to stimulate gaming lovers around the country, an additional Rs 500 million as prize money for Match V, Match IV and Match III winners was also announced.

Playwin Infravest will market the Megawin Maha Lotto in all the 14 lottery-playing States of India. Playwin has a tie up with E-Cool Gaming Solutions, the licensee company for the government of of Maharashtra. Megawin Maha Lotto, by virtue of its jackpot size is the biggest online jackpot game introduced ever.

With Sikkim, Maharashtra and Karnataka under its belt Playwin is now eyeing other markets as well. Playwin has spotted a big opportunity in Chennai, says CEO Sanjay Das. Speaking to on the sidelines of today's launch function in south Mumbai, Das said: "The Tamil Nadu government has already floated a tender and the mindset of the Tamilian is very much in sync with the lottery. The Punjab is another state, which has floated tenders. Nearly 93-94 per cent of the winnings are claimed and the rest goes back to the government."

Declining to comment on rival plans for lottery in other states (Modis, Manipal Group and Essar are both poised to enter the fray), Das said that Playwin had already set a high standard and it would be up to the competition to reach it or create innovation for the sake of differentiation.

Das said," Since launching nine months ago, we crossed Rs 450 crore (Rs 4.5 billion) in turnover. We expect to cross Rs 1000 crore (Rs 10 billion) within the next three months. For Megawin Maha Lotto, we have targeted Rs 2500 crore (Rs 25 billion) in the first year and out of this, Rs 250-300 crore (Rs 2.5-3 billion) will go to the Maharashtra government. As of now, we have already disbursed Rs 90 crore (Rs 900 million) to the three state governments in Sikkim, Karnataka and Maharashtra. We sell 20 million tickets every week. As of yesterday, we touched 80,00,000 winners and have given away Rs 190 crore (Rs 1.9 billion) in prize money. We have created 12 crorepatis and 900 lakhpatis, 30 per cent of whom are from Maharashtra."

Meanwhile, to create synergy for its dedicated viewers, Zee has also announced the Zee TV Viewers Quiz Dekho Dhoom, which will take place every Sunday from 5 January. In addition to this, Zee has announced a daily show wherein viewers can win Rs 10 million on the same Megawin Maha Lotto ticket; and a weekend Sunday show where the stakes are as high as Rs 40 million.

In a 30-minute show starting at 9 pm, six questions are asked and different groups are created depending on how many right answers have been given. One person who has answered all six questions correctly gets 2 million from a lucky draw. The next person with five answers gets Rs 1.5 million and so on.

The lucky draw will take place on the channel two weeks after the questions have been asked.

An innovative TVC has been created which emphasises the number 50. It shows people going mad with excitement at the thought of moving away from a humdrum existence involving overcrowded trains and the ilk.

The tickets will be on sale from 3 January 2003 onwards and the same will be made available on all the 4,500 plus terminals of Playwin across the 14 lottery playing States.

The Megawin's Maha Lotto game consists of a playslip, which allows its players to play upto 3 panels of games. Each game is priced at Rs 100. Each player selects 6 numbers between 1 to 61 per panel by striking them and if all the 6 selected numbers match with the numbers drawn then the player will be eligible to win the Megawin Maha Lotto Jackpot of Rs 500 million. If the player matches five of the same numbers drawn he can win Rs 2.5 million, this amount is para-mutual, which means that the amount may vary with the total number of winners and the total prize pool.

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