The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the Kerala government’s ban on the sale of online lotteries was valid.
Rejecting the contention of online operators that the state has not banned the sale of paper lottery tickets and only online lottery companies are being discriminated against, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu refused to interfere unless there were “compelling grounds” since the state government’s decision to prohibit online lotteries was “in public interest”.
The court’s order came while dismissing a batch of appeals filed by online lottery companies that operate largely from Sikkim. The Sikkim government had defended the online lotteries in Kerala saying it is a big source of income for the state.
“As per Section 4(h) of the Lotteries Act, 1998, the draw should be held once in a week. It means a fortune seeker, after purchasing the ticket, will get a week’s cooling time to wait for the result of the draw. But, under the online lottery scheme, a number of lotteries run simultaneously. So, by holding several lotteries, there can be several draws within minutes and the gullible will stay glued and it is likely that purchase of tickets will go on, till all his savings are exhausted,” the court said.