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SEBI-like body to regulate lottery business planned

The New Delhi-based NIFP has been entrusted with drafting out the framework to accord industry status to lottery operations.
By Srinand Jha | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUN 12, 2008 01:28 AM IST

Anticipating a major boom in the sector, the government is considering setting up an authority on the lines of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to regulate the Rs 50,000 crore lottery business in the country.

The New Delhi-based National Institute of Financial Policy (NIFP) has been entrusted with drafting out the framework to accord industry status to lottery operations.

At a meeting organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, comprising officials of the ministries of law and finance on Wednesday, it was decided to convene a conference of the 10 state governments that permit lottery operations. The conference has been tentatively scheduled for next month in Maharashtra. States that allow lottery include Maharashtra, Punjab, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal and Goa.

Annual legal lottery operations in India are estimated at a whopping Rs.25, 000 crore, while the illegal market generates an additional Rs.25, 000 crore.

The union government is moving towards a regulatory regime for the sector for obvious reasons: The huge size of the trade and prospects of generating massive government revenue. State governments generate thousands of crores from liquor and tobacco sales in excise duty and sales tax. With the lottery business being largely unorganised, government revenues have remained minimal.

Amar Sinha of Playwin, among the big players in the online lottery sector, says more transparency would attract a larger audience and bigger contributions to the exchequer. “The government must initiate standard regulations to operators in terms of prize payouts and audit of results, while ensuring that a code of conduct is adhered to.” The All India Federation for Lottery Gaming and Allied Industries has submitted a memorandum to the government enlisting some of these measures.

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