It is time Karnataka lifts the ban and mops up revenue for its public welfare programmes.
The mobile and internet era has turned the ban on lotteries imposed by Karnataka government into a farce as online lotteries, e-lotteries, mobile phone lotteries and lotteries of other states are thriving right under the nose of state government.
The state is losing a whopping Rs 10,000 Crore revenue annually even as illegal lotteries and gambling is thriving without any hindrance raising serious questions about success of the ban.
“The lottery ban is ineffective and has turned in to a mockery. It is time Karnataka makes amends and takes a leaf out of Kerala’s model. The neighboring state is earning Rs 5,000 Crore revenue every year from lotteries, which is being utilized for providing medical services for the poor. For a bigger state like Karnataka, it could yield approximately Rs 10,000 Crore. This huge revenue could help the state to provide free medical aid or education for the poor. The state government should rethink on the ban,” says Ramakrishna the association president.
Let the state owned MSIL manage the lotteries with modern technologies to check any illegalities as being effectively managing the current liquor market. Apart from revenue, it would also mean providing source of livelihood for nearly 10 lakh MSIL authorised persons, more of them physically challenged.
The lottery ban has not stopped gambling or betting in the society. If Horse racing, cricket betting, e-lotteries are legal, then there is no reason why lotteries are not?
Lottery Union Urges State to Resume State-run Lottery
The Karnataka State Sellers (Agents) Lottery Union has urged the State Government to lift the ban on lotteries imposed in 2007. The Union has, in fact, requested the State Government to run the lottery as it was doing previously, thus avoiding fraudulent lottery schemes coming up in the market.
The Union has pointed out that 12 states – West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Goa, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland – allow lotteries, while Karnataka has banned it.
As per item 40 on List I (Union List) and items 34 and 62 on List II (State List) in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the union government is empowered to frame laws to regulate the conduct of lotteries, while state governments have the responsibility of authorising/conducting lotteries.
However, Karnataka and also adjoining Tamil Nadu have banned lotteries and the Union pointed out that in these two states ‘underground lotteries’ thrived.
To drive home this point of fraudulent lottery schemes thriving, the Union pointed out that senior police officers of the Lottery Enforcement Wing were involved in a lottery racket. Single digit lotteries were run with impunity.
To avoid all this, which did not get the state exchequer any money, the Union has suggested that the State Government run the lottery which would be not only credible but also fetch revenues to the government.
The Union said it would cooperate with the government in ensuring that the lottery business remained genuine.