Delhi Govt Likely To Lift Ban On Lottery

Sep 12 2003, 00:00 IST
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Even as the nascent online lottery business attracts big business players in 14 states, there are indications that the traditional offline version may be reintroduced in some of the other states like Delhi where it was banned some years back.

Banned in 1990s, the Delhi government is reconsidering to allow playing lottery (both paper and online) in the state after getting a representation from different sections.

“We are responsive to the proposal but are at the same time responsible to public at large,” said an official heading the committee formed by the department of lottery, Delhi government. He also said that the committee was viewing to re-introduce lottery playing in the state in the backdrop of its larger social implications. “There are three aspects that we are considering before we come to any conclusion — freedom, fairness and transparecy,” said the official.

While Raaja Kanwar, joint managing director, Apollo International, which has forayed into the online lottery business, asserted that Apollo had taken care of transparency and fairness with which the game would be executed, Neeraj Kumar, joint commissioner, Special Cell, Delhi Police, who led the team of crime branch busting many fake lottery rackets going on in Delhi, in 1993-94, and prepared a comprehensive report on the basis of which the Delhi government decided to ban lottery, said it was very difficult to maintain transparency. “On the face of it everything may seem to be fair but vested interest and involvement of unscrupulous players cannot be ruled out, whether it is online lottery or paper,” said Mr Kumar.

He also said that it was seen that lotteries were often registered with a state government but left to private agencies to execute, where came in foul play with the agencies playing all kinds of hanky panky.

However, Mr Kanwar argued, “We have decided to monitor the whole business through our officials specially trained for it.” The members of the committee set up by the Delhi government also said there were also other issues like minors getting hooked on to the game and wastng money.

Part of the reason for the push to revive the lottery business in Delhi stems from the fact that even as neighbouring Harayna will have access to online lottery, Delhi will not have.

Delhiites, for instance, will have to drive down to Gurgaon or Faridabad, in order to reach these machines.

Like the paper version, this can also be played in only 14 lottery playing states (the states where lotteries are allowed to be sold and played like Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, etc.)

That is why companies, however, are still feeling that lottery playing in this new avtaar may be better accepted and are hoping that they would be re-introduced in some non-lottery playing states like Delhi. With brands like ‘Playwin’ and ‘Dhan Dhana Dhan’ already there some major industrial houses, like Onkar Singh promoted Apollo International and Dhoot brothers promoted Dhoot Entertainment Network, are making agrressive forays in this business.

While the Dhoots are investing Rs 25 crore in the first phase Apollo is investing a whopping Rs 250 crore envisaged over a three year period and both have registered their product with Arunachal Pradesh government.

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