Why private lotteries were banned in India

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Ramesh Apte

Editor-In-Chief, Ramesh

Last updated on 12th July 2020

Published: 11/12/2019

Categories: Informational

Turbulence in India

The ban on private lotteries in India comes out of a time of disorder in the 1960s. After a long struggle for independence, India finally got its freedom from the British Raj on the 15th of August 1947. The following years the government tried to keep India united and in order.

After two wars, against China in 1962 and Pakistan in 1965, the situation in India was starting to get out of control. Separatist movements were rebelling, gangs were getting more influence and overall order was low.

As the 1967 general elections took place the Indian National Congress won once again but with significantly lower results than previous elections. The wars fought that decade had strained the Indian economy. Also the overall disturbance in the country needed to be improved.

Indira Gandhi and the Indian National Congress saw more regulations as an important part of improving the overall state of India.

Matka Gambling and Satta King

At the same time, Matka gambling had skyrocketed in popularity as did the earnings from these lottery games. Matka gambling or Satta king which it is also known as is a form of lottery that began with players being able to bet on the opening and closing rates on textiles sent from the New York Cotton Exchange to the Bombay Cotton Exchange through teleprinters.

The practice of sending the rates stopped in 1961 but instead of stopping the liked lottery it adapted. Rhattan Khatri introduced the idea of betting on rates of imaginary products. Imaginary opening and closing rates were written on pieces of paper and then put in a large earthen pot known as a Matka. Even though this practice was abandoned for drawing cards from a deck later on the name Matka gambling stuck.

The amounts of money earned from these lotteries were huge and several Indians became Matka Kings. This title is awarded to a person who has earned a great deal from Matka gambling.

Since lotteries have been a way to fund state finances in Europe since the 1500s the Indian government saw an opportunity to improve their financial state by creating their own lotteries. Furthermore, they could stop the flow of money that wasn’t being taxed in the Satta king. One of the many laws made in 1967 was, therefore, the national ban on private lotteries. This gave room for the many government lotteries in India we have today.

Indian State lotteries

The first state to take advantage of the new law was Kerala State. Already in 1967, they had started their own lottery department. The Kerala State Lottery became successful quickly and set an example for other states that soon followed.

The Punjab State lottery was created just one year after and is now known as one of the most popular in the country. It has six great bumper lotteries that can be played throughout the year.

Another success story is the Sikkim State lottery. Even though it started 11 years after the nationwide lottery ban it quickly grew to become one of the biggest lottos available in India. It was also the first to introduce online lotteries in the form of the Playwin lotto. Sadly they have had trouble with Playwin lately but there are tons of great online lottery sites in India still.

Other states that have or allow lotteries are:

  • Goa
  • Maharashtra
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • West Bengal
  • Assam
  • Arunachal Pradesh
  • Meghalaya
  • Manipur
  • Nagaland
  • Mizoram

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