The Meghalaya Cabinet approved the rules for state lottery on Monday. The rules define how the lottery will be conducted in the state to help the state generate revenues. Meghalaya will finally revive the state Lottery after it was shut down in 2005.
In the year 2017, the then Chief Minister of Meghalaya announced that Excise Registration Taxation Stamps Department (ERTS) department notified the new rules for lottery. He also indicated that the bidding process will start to appoint a distributor for the state’s lottery.
James K. Sangma, Meghalaya’s Home minister, said that as Meghalaya Lottery Rules 2019 have been approved now, the taxation department with work out the lottery process. Tenders will also be floated for the same.
Sangma announced that both paper and online lottery will be introduced. This will enable participation by people from all the Indian states where lottery is legal.
Before this, online Meghalaya state lottery was introduced in 2001. Back then, an agreement was signed with MS Associates, a firm that reportedly belonged to former Lok Sabha Congress MP Mani Kumar Subba.
MS Associates was supposed to pay a guaranteed Rs. 3 crore to the state exchequer in the first year. This amount was increased to Rs 12 crore in the year 2002, after the government faced opposition from various quarters. MS Associates stopped operations in 2005 and failed to pay the balance sum of Rs 35.08 crore (out of Rs 54.08 crore due from 2002 to 2005), as per the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
As per a report, the CAG also criticized the state government for continuing to pay the lottery department staff from the year 2008 to 2016, with no assignment of work duties to the said staff. This caused a loss of another Rs. 5.69 crores to the exchequer.
Since 2005, the state of Meghalaya has not been able to revive the state lottery, up until now.
Earlier this year, the Meghalaya state was also exploring the possibility of permitting licensed casinos in the state to fillip the state’s tourism. If the proposal is put into action, the locals will be banned from entering and playing in casinos.