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Supreme Court upholds Kerala ban on online lotteries


The Supreme Court has upheld a ban on the sale of online lottery tickets by the Kerala state government, as indicated by this report by the Times of India. The Kerala High Court had earlier in January 2005 directed the state government to implement a ban on all lotteries in the state, however later amended the directive to only include online lotteries and not paper-based lotteries issued by the state.

The Supreme Court noted that there violations in the online lottery tickets issued by the states of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim and that many of them did not carry an imprint, logo of state governments and signature of the authorized officers.

“With regard to the contention regarding the function of the online lottery, we are of the considered view that any type of manipulation can be done in the printing of tickets at the terminal. The customer cannot know whether the ticket is printed at the terminal based on the command from the central server or not. The State of Sikkim does not have any control over its thousands of terminals all over India,” chief justice HL Dattu said.

The court also noted that according to Kerala’s Lotteries Act 1998, draws for lotteries should be held once a week but under online lotteries, a number of lotteries run simultaneously.

The Court expanded on this view, saying most forms of gambling are “confined to a few persons and places” whereas a lottery “infests the whole community; it enters every dwelling; it reaches every class; it preys upon the hard earnings of the poor; it plunders the ignorant and the simple.”

The appeal against the Kerala’s ban on online lotteries was filed by the All Kerala Online Lottery Dealers Association and the states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

This isn’t the first time online lotteries have run into trouble in the country. Earlier in 2008, the Maharashtra criminal investigation department had filed a report alleging a nexus between government officials and online lottery operators. The report also said that the Maharashtra government was running multiple lotteries in a single day.

Image source: Flickr User Trilok Rangan

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