Players of India’s state lotteries – and there are many of them – will have far fewer chances to win, now that a high court has handed down a comprehensive ruling on Indian gambling laws with regard to the lottery.
The judgment was heard in the Kerala High Court on Thursday in an appeal case brought against the Kerala state government by Megha Distributors, promoter for state lotteries in Sikkim and Bhutan. On Monday, a court allowed Sikkim and Bhutan lottery tickets to be sold in Kerala, but limited all three states to once-a-week draws only: Before the court order, some 28 to 30 draws were held by the three lotteries combined per week.
It was also ruled that the state government could charge Megha Distributors tax in advance on ticket sales in Kerala, a decision Megha will naturally appeal, with a legal opinion expected next week.
In terms of economics, this is a huge ruling for Kerala and for Indian gambling laws in general. The Kerala government receives between Rs 700,000 ($15,100) and Rs 1.7 million ($36,600) per week; the limited number of lotteries could result in Rs 1.2 billion ($25.8 million) less for the state budget annually. An estimated 400,000 Indian citizens sell lottery tickets as part or all of their livelihood.
Some have speculated that this cutback in ticket sales will result in more Internet gambling in India, as interest in online lottery games has increased dramatically among the country’s burgeoning wired population in recent years.