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Thimphu, May 15, 2007
Three Indian lottery companies are in the race for acquiring exclusive rights to run Bhutan's online lottery in India. The companies have already submitted their bids to the Himalayan kingdom's finance ministry on May 10. The ministry is expected to make its announcement within a month after going through technical strengths and practical profiles of each of the companies.

The three companies were among the four short-listed to participate in the bid after the fourth had pulled out in the last minute.

A representative of one of the lottery agencies said the ministry could either choose one company or consider giving it to all the three bidders to jointly run the online version.

Paresh Rajde, director of Forbes Group, said the popularity of Bhutan State (paper) Lottery in India has encouraged them to contend for the online version.

"It is popular in the three states of West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra," he told Kuensel.

J Dhamija of Best & Co said, if his company bags the contract, it would take only about a month to commence the business in India.

"We have been in the business for the past 15 years or so. We have already established our infrastructure in West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Punjab," Dhamija said.