In the latest example of Indian enterprise's global ambitions, a Mumbai-based lottery operator is bidding to run Britain's lucrative National Lottery from 2009 for 10 years.
The British lottery has raised 18.5 billion pounds for good causes and given 26 billion in prizes. The lottery is currently run by Camelot, which is also in the race along with Australian Tatterstall's.
The bid has been put to the National Lottery Commission (NLC) by Sugal & Damani, which has businesses ranging from tourism to financial services and has run lotteries for more than three decades, including for various state governments such as of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Manipur.
Sugal & Damani put in a preliminary proposal to the National Lottery Commission last week. Several companies, including Cable & Wireless and another Indian company, PlayWin, have expressed interest in running the lottery from 2009.
But only Sugal & Damani, Camelot and Tattersall's have announced firm intentions. Richard Branson, who bid in the previous licence round with his People's Lottery, has said he will not bid again, objecting that the competition process favours the incumbent.
Final bids have to be in by mid-December and the preferred bidder will be announced in May.
Sugalchand Jain, chairman of Sugal & Damani, said: "We are in the process of finalising our bid. We have more than 35 years of continuous operation of government lotteries in various states of India. Being in the business for more than three decades, Sugal & Damani developed thorough expertise at all levels, be it technology, operations or financial strength."
A spokeswoman for the NLC said: "We welcome Sugal & Damani's interest in the competition for the next licence - the National Lottery Commission has worked hard to create a level playing field for the competition, and the interest from around the world shows we have achieved this."
Sugal & Damani said: "While we are one of the top players in every form of lottery played in the country, what sets us apart is our total control of technology elements in the computerised online field."
The company, founded in Chennai in 1970, added: "We have complete in-house expertise and control on design, development, integration of software, hardware and networking, making us independent and flexible."