Kerala government bans online lottery

MUMBAI: The Kerala government has issued a notification banning sale of all kinds of computer and online lottery tickets in the state. The order, which comes into force with immediate effect, asserts the state as a `free zone from online and internet lotteries'.

Prominent online lottery operators in Kerala include Essel group's Playwin, Martin Group's Smartwin, DhanDhanaDhan from Forbe's group, Dhoot Entertainment Network's V1 online lottery and Apollo International's Lottus.

When contacted, Playwin CEO Sanjay Das told that the company closed all its installations in the state in deference to the notification. He said the company was contemplating its next move.

Kerala is an important market for online lottery operators. Playwin, for instance, used to collect approximately 20 per cent of its total revenue (Rs. 800 - Rs. 900 million per month) from this market. According to an industry insider, the Kerala online lottery market is valued at Rs. 500 million to Rs. 750 million approximately.

Online lottery in the state is now banned using the 5th section of Union Lottery law. Earlier, online lottery operators had obtained a stay from the SC against a High Court Order banning the sale of other state lotteries in the state. Reportedly, the government's decision now to ban online lottery in the state is based on expert opinion that the SC order is applicable to paper lotteries only.

The Supreme Court had earlier pulled up Kerala government officials for remarks and taking action against on-line and paper lotteries in the state while the matter has been pending before the court and hence sub-judice. It had asked the chief secretary to present himself before the court on 17 January.


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