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Thursday, Apr 04, 2002

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Playwin in talks with Kerala Govt

Vinson Kurian

A last-minute rush to get rich quick at a Playwin franchise in Thrissur, Kerala.


PLAYWIN Infravest, a subsidiary of the Rs 4,500-crore Essel group that specialises in online gaming, intends to take a leaf out of its success in Sikkim, Maharashtra and Karnataka and fancy the chances of introducing online lottery in Kerala too.

Representatives of the company are learnt to have met with the Director, Lotteries, and other officials of the State Government and introduced the concept.

Online lottery would necessitate suitable tinkering of the State Lotteries Act to enable the State Government to issue formal licences based on tenders floated for the purpose.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr Kulbir Ahuja, Senior Vice-President (Sales and Marketing), Playwin Infravest, said that the company views the online lottery as largely an extension to the new era of entertainment unleashed in the country and made popular by Zee Network, a member company under the Essel fold.

In the first phase, Playwin has introduced the Super Lotto through 2,000 terminals across the country on behalf of the Sikkim Government. Besides Sikkim, the Governments of Maharashtra and Karnataka have appointed subsidiaries of the group as marketing agents for the online lottery.

These subsidiaries, in turn, have appointed Playwin as their sub-agent to create the necessary infrastructure and market for online gaming.

As opposed to the one per cent revenue which most Governments earn from the conventional paper lottery, group subsidiaries have assured a revenue in the range of 20-25 per cent, i.e., more than Rs 3,000 crore, to the three States during the licence period of 5-10 years.

According to Mr Ahuja, the launch of the Sikkim online lottery on March 5 is seen as the beginning of a revolution in the lottery industry in India. "Online gaming is foolproof and offers a high degree of credibility, transparency and auditability."

The Indian lottery system is a State-run operation under the auspices of the Director of Lotteries under the Department of Finance.

Government lottery is one of the few public sector ventures that make a profit. The paper lottery market is assessed at around Rs 50,000 crore currently.

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