The government is framing rules to ban double-digit lotteries that account for nearly 75 per cent sales of lottery tickets, restrict the maximum number of draws in a day to 25 per state and fix a minimum price for lottery tickets.
The regulations — based on the recommendations of study group set up by the home ministry in 2006 — are the first attempt to frame nationwide rules for the lottery business, under the Lottery (Regulation) Act 1998.
Double-digit lotteries are considered ruinously addictive, as they are easier to win.
The winner has to get just the last two digits right. The prize money is low but there are a lot of winning tickets to be won. There are no official estimates of the size of the lottery industry.
Related associations say the industry’s turnover is Rs 50,000 crore. “But for a business that is allowed by states to generate revenues, it contributes only Rs 1,000 crore to the exchequer of the dozen states that permit, and run lotteries,” a home ministry official said.
In some northeastern states, the state earns just Rs 100 per draw.
The BJP-led NDA government had introduced a Bill in 1999 to prohibit lottery but wasn’t able to get all political parties to back it.
A similar attempt by the first edition of the UPA government also failed, prompting the home ministry to introduce checks and balances in the business.