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Feature: Top Sikkim Lottery Department officials clarify ambiguities in lottery, online gaming & casino regulations

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Exclusive In a visit to the Lotteries Department, Ministry of Finance and Revenue in Gangtok, I met Lotteries Director KP Sharma (a bureaucrat of the rank of Secretary to the Government of Sikkim), Suman Gautam, Law Officer of the Lotteries Department and other officials. The officials patiently clarified the stand of the Lottery Department and Sikkim government on paper and online lotteries, online gambling, casinos and future plans in a first of its kind interaction. Here is their response to the various initiatives of the Sikkim government, the state with the most liberal gaming and lottery laws in India:

On Online Gaming licenses and failure of the companies to start operations despite issuing provisional license

Gautam and other officials admitted that the companies who had been allotted online gaming licenses were not able to start operations  as per schedule despite the provisional license being issued a couple of years back which clearly stated that operations were to start within 120 days. This was due to the reason that necessary infrastructure could not be immediately set up by the companies, potential criminal and civil liability for operators under the Information Technology Act and state gaming laws and refusal by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow payment gateways to gambling websites.

However the officials admitted that there would be negotiations to clear any ambiguity and potential liability and the government would take an appropriate decision on granting ‘Go-live’ licenses at an appropriate stage after consultations with stakeholders (despite the maximum time gap of 120-days between the provisional and go-live licenses already been elapsed, the Lottery Department officials indicated that the delay in granting the full license would be condoned and operations could be started depending on favourable regulatory and commercial environment, though it was very well possible that the online gaming websites may not start operations at all).

On casinos in Sikkim

Two casino licenses have been issued by the Sikkim government to Hotel Mayfair and Royal Plaza in Gangtok and casinos are currently running in these two places. The Sikkim government started the process of regulating Electronic Games in 2002 by introducing the Sikkim Electronic Entertainment Games (Control and Tax) Act, 2002 but renamed the legislation as the Sikkim Casinos (Control and Tax) Act in 2005. Through the Rules framed in 2007, various conditions and fees are imposed on casinos and licenses are only granted to casinos in five star hotels.

Further, the officials clarified that only two licenses are issued as of now and there is no immediate proposal to grant any further licenses in the short term. Casinos were only licensed for attracting rich tourists and there was no attempt to encourage gambling in the state and the revenue generated through casinos was insignificant compared to lotteries.

Office of the Directorate of Sikkim Lotteries in Gangtok

On online and paper lotteries

Gautam and other officials were of the opinion that both paper and online lotteries have brought in significant revenues to the Sikkim government which otherwise does not have many sources of income and was essential to implement various government schemes. (Currently the Sikkim government has issued paper lottery license to Pan India which conducts the famous Playwin lottery and online lottery licenses to Future Gaming Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. and Samit Online. Gautam estimated the total annual revenue to the Sikkim government from all lottery licenses to be around Rs. 50 crores and from casinos to be around Rs. 10 crores ).

On the issue of transparency in draw of lotteries and  lottery feud with Kerala

Lottery department officials were critical of the banning of Sikkim lotteries by the Kerala government in 2011 on flimsy grounds and slammed the Kerala government for their doublespeak on the issue of lotteries. They noted that Kerala was until recently promoting its own state lottery and its recent moves were aimed to tarnish the reputation of Sikkim lotteries.

The officials however stressed to point out that the draw of lots in Sikkim was completely fair and transparent. Various regulations were in place and two judges and one supervisor were present in the lottery office during draw of lots (both online and paper lotteries).

They added that there would be progress in the Indian gaming industry and the Sikkim government had already taken various initiatives which should be followed by other states depending on their needs and sensitivities.

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.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. ram

    September 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    sir i want to buy a sikkim bumper lottery.can u give details about it.

  2. N.T.Joseph

    August 6, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Sikkim lottery is for the development of Sikkim state,civilized approach is needed

  3. N.T.Joseph

    August 6, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Sikkim lottery is for the development of Sikkim state,civilized approach is needed The employment created,welfare of poor and needy,social object is important. if new licence for on line,paper lottery license ,if proposed a strategy e-commerce integrating loyalty of product 25 crore start up 250 crore within two years can be achieved.

  4. Fahad Dhuru

    October 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Sir,
    One year back I used to play rajshree lottery here in navi mumbai.
    I played for almost 6 months. But I lost very big amount of money.
    Its the one sided game.Only the company wins.I am not thinking about my loss but the poor people who earns hardly any but lose to this online lottery.

    I request you to stop this as soon as possible.

  5. brijmohan upadhyay

    May 16, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    i want information about purchasing procedure

  6. Bidhan Majumder

    November 28, 2016 at 12:48 am

    Please sir
    Sikim dear 51 lakh retail seller commition please sir tell me as soon as possible.
    [email protected]
    09800247357

  7. Bidhan Majumder

    November 28, 2016 at 12:50 am

    Respected
    Sir
    The first prize of (dear benifit 40 same ) 51 lakh , the retail seler Commission how much? Please tell me as soon as possible.

    Winning prize date: 28/11/16

  8. Sanjay

    February 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    80G. 25211 Sikkim DEAR BENEFIT29Draw 4PM 03/02/2017. ek Bara prize sara child ko asthana mil jayaga please follow numbers Sikkim DEAR BENEFIT

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