Legal consultancy points out the fragmented and unstable regulatory climate of the nation’s State lotteries. Up against global online competition, Indian games for money might just miss out on their own domestic player pool.
Lotteries a Veritable Tradition across the Union, Yet Often Overlooked by Policymakers
The New York based Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA) has recently taken a look at India’s lottery scene, finding notable gaps between market dynamics and legal regulation. While some states allow paper-based lotto draws, many others don’t have a government-approved scheme. And in the complexity of it all, the obvious solution for many desi players lies in the vast choice of online lottery options.
It is strange, GALA remarks, that many games of chance have traditionally been accepted by regional and tribal cultures but have struggled to get formal approval by authorities. Meghalaya’s Teer is a prime example of an adventure game turned into a lottery custom. Betting on an archery event does not differ much from extracting a number out of a clay pot or other kind of drawing but it has been a century old tradition in Shillong. Despite that, it took more than a decade for the Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute to get legal recognition of the game.
Around half of the Union states have their own lotteries or allow others to sell their tickets on their territory. Jurisdictions like Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Assam joined Meghalaya in legalizing lotteries at some point. The 1998 Lotteries Regulation Act and the 2010 Rules passed by the Sansad leave such powers to state governments and many have taken diverging positions on regulation, licensing and taxing lotteries.
What is most interesting, however, is the fact that desi players could safely play Lottoland India or any other online lottery as long as it is based offshore. That’s because lotteries are considered games of skill in India, meaning they’re perfectly legal to play. So whether you’re looking to try your luck on some of the world’s biggest jackpots or just want a bit of fun, playing the lottery online is a great option. If you’re not sure where and how to play you must check this guide.
Missing Out on a Multi-Billion Market Potential
While the very NITI Aayog encouraged certain “lucky draws” to promote cashless payments, many State-run lotteries remain decisively behind global digitization standards. This makes them lose out on an important source of public revenue which could easily be channeled towards welfare programs and other local public needs.
Industry research reveals that the typical online lottery player is a young male living in a big city. Over half of registered users are under 34, with 88 percent playing on their smartphone. Maharashtra dominates the online lottery scene in India (with between 14 and 19 percent of all players depending on lottery platforms) but it is mostly states with no local government lottery after that – Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka, West Bengal, and NCT Delhi.
These states are also the home of the majority of Tier-1 cities (Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Chennai) and it is no wonder that online lotteries are more appealing to players with busy lifestyles and better tech knowledge. Above all, however, is the fact that they don’t have local access to paper-based lotteries while they could play completely legally practically any high-profile international lottery.
Some offshore operators and intermediaries have already begun offering online lottery versions in Hindi, Bengali, Telugu or Tamil, market analyses show. This is especially relevant in times of global uncertainty when users choose familiar real-money games like the traditional lottery.
If anything, this makes the responsibility of policymakers even more obvious – if they aim to protect desi consumers, they need to bring more legal clarity into the lottery market. Setting up a national licensing system is the only way to achieve more transparency in the sector, get more tax revenues and provide guidance to domestic players wishing to play local online lotteries.