State in India Gets Online Lottery

7 September 2001
The Indian state of Karnataka is about to enter the I-gaming world through the creation of an Internet lottery.

The site is still in its infancy, although the state's Directorate of Small Savings & Lottery recently received bids from three companies, Khodays International, Ultra Entertainment Solutions Pvt Ltd. and Mumbai and Venture Business Advisers Pvt Ltd., to develop the e-lottery.

Only companies with a net worth of Rs 2,000 crore (US $43 million) can submit bids, officials said.

The lottery is expected to operate throughout the state on 10,000 Internet-capable kiosks, which will also provide residents with access to the Web.

The e-lottery is made possible under guidelines recently passed by the state legislative assembly. The creation of an Internet lottery is not universally popular, however.

"It is gambling at a different level and will eventually pose a danger to the society," Mundanda Nanaiah, an assemblyman from Mangalore, told the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in August.

Gopalkirshna Bekal, a former deputy commissioner of police, told the India Times that "any game of chance is gambling."

He added, "It is disheartening to know that gambling will be made accessible to more people because of these kiosks. During former chief minister Veerappa Mioly's day we had moved the government to stop lotteries, including the government-run ones. It is not a positive sign that the government itself is sponsoring such ventures."