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Rs. 7,000 crore illegal lottery scam exposed



Lotteries are banned in 17 Indian states, while it is legal to purchase lotteries in the remaining 12 states. However there is an enormous craze for lotteries even in the states where it is banned. This has led to the increasing sale of illegal lotteries across the country. In fact, even in states where lotteries are legal, illegal lottery rackets are rampant because of the stringent provisions of the Lotteries Regulation Act, 1998.

The Lotteries Regulation Act lays down various conditions which have to be complied by all lottery promoting state governments. Some of these conditions are: the state government must print the tickets, the proceeds of the ticket sale must be credited into the public account of the state, the state government shall conduct the draw of all lotteries and no lottery shall have more than one draw per week. It is very difficult for businessmen to follow all these bureaucratic procedures which prompts them to market illegal lotteries.

The irregularities: Apart from illegally selling lotteries in states where they are prohibited, it is also alleged that the winning number always comes from the unsold tickets, people who have the winning combination are denied their prize and if at all given any prize, the amount given is less than the 75 percent (of the total prize money) statutorily fixed.

Illegal lotteries are clandestinely sold at teashops and newspaper stalls across the country. Experts estimate that lottery tickets worth at least Rs. 7,000 crore (out of the Rs.13,000 crore paper lotteries sold in India annually) are illegally sold. According to income tax and other law enforcement officials, lottery kingpin Santiago Martin is primarily responsible for all illegal lottery scams in India. Martin is a 42 year old businessman with powerful political connections. He claims to run legitimate lottery agencies in states where lotteries are not banned. Martin has friends in almost all political parties.

Martin’s clout: Martin regularly contributes to the CPI (M) fund in Kerala, is allegedly close to top Central Congress leaders and DMK patriarch MK Karunanidhi. The fact that Martin regularly contributes to CPI (M) became known when his Rs. 2 crore donation to CPM newspaper Deshabhiami was leaked due to party infighting. In fact Martin is so close to Karunanidhi that he is making movies based on his writings.

Lack of political will: Investigation agencies are ready to probe matters related to this paper lottery scam and Martin’s involvement, but Martin’s powerful political friends stop all investigations. In fact, an FIR was filed in Chennai and Tamil Nadu CID sleuths grilled martin and his associates, after which they confessed the charges. No action has been taken thereafter and Martin is out on bail. It would not be difficult to infer that political pressure has stopped all investigations in the matter.

What will happen now? In all probability, no action will be taken against Martin and his lottery business will continue. Anuj Sharma DIG and Inspector General of the West Bengal CID is quoted as saying, “No one complains formally (about the illegal lottery racket) because of the fear of Martin and his men.”

To ensure that no fingers are pointed towards him, Martin has a legitimate front: He is the sole distributor of 28 Sikkim lotteries, 17 Tamil Nadu lotteries and 6 Arunachal Pradesh lotteries. Moreover, Martin remains reclusive and is hardly seen in the public domain. Thus, few people would know about his role in the lottery business. A fair judicial probe is the only hope to ensure that gullible people are not looted by bogus claims of making them rich overnight.

BJP leader Vijay Goel spearheaded the banning of single digit lotteries in Delhi and is going to introduce the Lottery Prohibition Bill in Parliament. Unless the law becomes clear on the subject, this racket is likely to continue.

Source: Article titled “The Trader of Shadow fortunes” published in Tehelka Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 06, dated 13 February, 2010. Available online at

P.S. More articles to follow as soon as more information about the lotteries scam and Santiago Martin becomes available in the public domain. Efforts are on to bring transparency and accountability.

Jay has researched extensively on gaming laws and has been cited by various media houses and journals as an expert. He has helped leading newspapers in their stories on gaming laws. Jay completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS, Kolkata in 2015 and is currently based out of Mumbai.



  1. mohsin musabhai jamidar

    December 13, 2011 at 2:55 pm


  2. anand Lama

    July 18, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Sir,I am from Sikkim and we ar working on this 4500 crore loss of precious revenue of Sikkim. Can i have the lastest update on this story.and has the CBI filed a charge sheet on martin.If yes I like to have a copy.Could help me.

    • Jay Sayta

      July 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      Anand pls email me


    September 7, 2014 at 9:20 am

    may bhi dunia ka bhut bada adimi banna chahta mobile number.9795409928

  4. Amit Agarwal

    November 29, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Can anyone share me the list of Lottery Banned States in India?

    • Jay Sayta

      November 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      List of states/Union territories where lottery is banned in India:

      1. Andhra Pradesh
      2. Arunachal Pradesh
      3. Assam (except Bodoland territorial council where lottery is permitted)
      4. Bihar
      5. Chattisgarh
      6. Gujarat
      7. Haryana
      8. Himachal Pradesh
      9. Jammu & Kashmir
      10. Jharkhand
      11. Karnataka
      12. Madhya Pradesh
      13. Manipur
      14. Meghalaya
      15. Mizoram
      16. Odisha
      17. Rajasthan
      18. Tamil Nadu
      19. Telengana
      20. Tripura
      21. Uttar Pradesh
      22. Uttarakhand
      23. Andaman & Nicobar Islands
      24. Chandigarh
      25. Daman & Diu
      26. National Capital Territory of Delhi
      27. Pondicherry
      28. Dadra & Nagar Haveli
      29. Lakhsadweep

  5. Pronab dey

    May 2, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Can anyone share me the list of Lottery Ruining States in India?

  6. deshu

    June 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Can u email me the lottery running state

  7. Mihir Patel

    August 5, 2015 at 2:45 am

    Sir, In gujarat under Registration trust loterry scheme like 4000 members pay 2750 rs. In six month and each member will get guranteed prize in lucky draw in six months six draw… each month one draw… is leagel in india? IS LEAGLE BUSSINESS IN GUJARAT UNDER REGISTRATION TRUST GURANTEED PRIZE TO EACH MEMBER LUCKY DRAW? IS THIS BUSSINESS IS LEAGLE SIR? I JUST WANT TO KNOW SIR. NOTHING ANY THING ELSE … ONLY WANT TO KNOW SIR… KINDLY GIVE ME YOUR E-MAIL ID SIR. Or reply here sir.

  8. Mihir Patel

    August 5, 2015 at 2:51 am

    Sir, In gujarat Guranteed lucky draw bussiness under restration trust with number and with whloe clearity of Gifts and benifits and if they run by transperantly and comletlely ok and if they gave all members to any guranteed gifts as per lucky draw is this legal bussiness sir? Kindly mail me sir. More info, I mentioned in my previous que. Sir, I just want to know… nothing any thing else… sir.

    With thanking to you.

  9. tonmoy dutta

    May 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    hi Jay,

    Can you please tell me the name of the act where it says that lottery in Tamil Nadu is banned

    • Jay Sayta

      May 9, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Notification under Section 5 of the Lotteries (Regulation) Act

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