Dhoots target Rs 10 billion this fiscal from V1 online lottery

MUMBAI: While most newly hatched lottery businesses have kept their ambitious plans on hold, prefering to rationalise and streamline their outfits, the Dhoot promoted V1 lottery is firing on all cylinders, targeting a turnover of Rs 10 billion in 2004-05.

V1, which launched on 8 February, and has hardly created a ripple thus far, aims to unleash an ad blitz costing Rs 1500 million in the coming months to lure the lottery player and also intends to launch a 24-hour gaming channel that will draw in the player and tickle the curiosity of the potential lottery enthusiast.

According to Dhoot Entertainment Network CEO Anirudh Dhoot, DEN has already set up 2,500 terminals across the country and plans to tie up with ETC as its television platform to air results, at least for one year. The eight online games, marketed under the V1, Khel Ke Dekho brand name, will soon be expanded to 24, says Dhoot. The 'Videocon' brand, which is known for durable products, will play an important role in promoting and marketing of its lottery business aggressively, he says.

According to Dhoot, DEN is the only company in the business which is offering a loan service to prospective franchisees, by offering Rs 90,000 for setting up terminals. It could also be the first company to offer franchisees a payout of eight per cent, which is the highest in an industry where the average hovers around five per cent.

Dhoot says V1, the lottery could well be a lead player in the market as it is strong in retailing and distribution, through its 10,000-strong retail network across the country. Dhoot says other companies and prospective big players failed to make a mark as these companies were new to the retail market and did not have the required retailing and distribution strengths. More importantly, most companies are seeking immediate profit, unlike Videocon, which is targeting long term profits and stability.

According to a company document, the Dhoots also plan to launch a 24-hour gaming channel, also called V1, which apart from sports and business news, will feature programmes related to the gaming.

After having bagged licenses for Meghalaya, West Bengal, Goa, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, the company is now targeting Kerala and Karnataka, where it plans to instal 150 terminals each. Till today, it has deployed 600 terminals in all the five states, and is looking ahead for another 1,200 by the end of this year. The company is also eyeing lottery licenses of the states of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal and Tamil Nadu, says Dhoot.

The company has also struck an alliance with Reliance Infocomm to announce the results of its online lottery through SMS.

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