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Lotteries were banned in Delhi in the late 1990s following a campaign by current Minister of Sports Vijay Goel. However, the state, like several others where lotteries are banned, has no special unit to look after violations. “It remains a low priority area for us as we are more focused now on issues related to terrorism and others,” a highly placed police source told AGB. “It is not that we are unaware that stakes can be very high in some of these modules. We also know that money laundering takes place. But our hands are further tied by the fact that plenty of business is also conducted online now and we do not have ways to track them yet.” “Moreover, in the past, when we have cracked down hard on such modules, there have been cases of misuse of the law and innocents got targeted which is why we have to maintain extra caution,” he said. Given the widespread nature of the problem, experts agree the only real way to make a meaningful dent in the black market would be to have a proper legal framework. At a recent event in Delhi to discuss the potential for legalization of gambling in the country, former director of the Central Bureau of Investigation, Ranjit Sinha noted that money laundering often takes place in instances of illegal betting and some of this money also funds terrorist activities, further compromising the security of the country. Sinha said that this could be curbed by legalizing gambling in India.

GROSS GAMING REVENUE $10.1b

GGR Y21E Maharashtra GGR Y21E

$1.1b

(Source: Global Market Advisors based on estimates for a legal casino industry)

Delta Corp Q1 gaming revenue 96.20 crore

+37%

Essel dusts off offshore casino plans Conglomerate Essel (Zee) Group is reviving plans for an offshore casino in Goa by the name of Casino Maharaj. The group first announced the offshore casino in 2009, but the vessel has remained in limbo for more than seven years since, stuck in need of a permit. It was billed to have been South Asia’s largest floating casino at the time and would be the sixth offshore venue in Goa.

Legal solution

Illegal betting on lotteries is known as the Satta and usually bets are made on single digits. The agents, locally known as the Khaiwal, distribute paper slips or tickets to those betting with numbers marked on them. “It is called parchi katna (distributing slips.) The money is bet on numbers. The announcement of the winners is made after all the bets have been collected and winners selected, which is called ghadi kholna (dismantling the clock). The act of announcing the winners is called awaj lagana (to give a call),” Singla said.

“It seems that the series of scams and problems relating to gambling and black money is only due to the hypocrisy of the political class. None of these investigations would have been necessary if betting and lottery was legal and if the trade was carried out in a legitimate fashion,” Jay Sayta, an expert on gambling laws in the country, said that legalizing lotteries would create opportunities for employment and generate revenues for the government. “Several states in the north-east India have legalised lotteries and they earn a substantial chunk of their revenues from it. In Kerala, the revenue generated from lotteries is used for social welfare schemes,” Sayta elaborated. The lottery business in Kerala was worth around $1 billion, with the state making revenues to the tune of a few hundred million dollars, said Sayta.

Andhra Pradesh gets six casino proposals The Andhra Pradesh state government has received six proposals to open casinos in the state, including one on the Krishna River. However, the state government has yet to make any decision on the proposals, some of which have been pending for at least two years, according to local media reports. The state would also need to amend the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974, which currently bans gambling.

Asia Gaming Briefings | November 2016

AGBriefings November 2016  

AGB brings you extensive coverage across all types of gaming, across 22 Asia jurisdictions.

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