Indian gambling laws are quite strict. With the exception of the National Lottery which can be played throughout the country, most forms of gambling are illegal. These rules, however, do not apply to the country’s smallest state: Goa. In Goa, five large casinos offer a variety of gambling machines, while the waters that meet its shores are dotted with casino cruise ships.
Now, it seems that Goa might also be the first to offer legally-licensed online gambling in India. It would come in the form of an online lottery system to augment the existing offline lottery, which is incredibly popular across the country. The state is now reviewing proposals from nine different organizations that submitted their bids earlier this month. A final decision is expected in a few weeks.
An online lottery system is seen as a ripe source of revenue for the state. The government expects that the new system will generate Rs 22-25 crore (€3.7-€4.2 million) in annual revenues. Spending has been higher than expected in recent years, and a new online lottery system could help to fill the gaps.
This is not the first time an online lottery has been considered in Goa. Two years ago a similar plan was put together – the government had offered a contract to a private company for a one-time payment of Rs 25 crore (€4.2 million). The government was also seeking a share in the company’s revenues. The plan failed; in fact, the government did not receive a single application.
It is too early to imagine what effect an online lottery might have on internet gambling in India. It is possible that such a system will open doors to other types of gambling offerings, like poker and casino games. While there are no laws forbidding online gambling in India, the government does not offer online gambling licenses, so players who wish to gamble over the internet must resort to playing at websites hosted in other countries.