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Illegal lottery thriving in TN despite ban in state

- May 19, 2022

Chennai, May 19 (IANS)

Illegal lottery business is thriving in Tamil Nadu despite the ban affected in 2003 and tall claims by the state government that gambling will be strictly cracked down.

Sources in the state police told IANS that the illegal lottery is operated by a big lottery conglomerate that has interests in North Eastern states, Kolkata and Punjab and who were successfully running the business in Tamil Nadu before the  ban was enforced.

According to insiders in the trade, a turnover of Rs 10 crore per day is taking place in Tamil Nadu amid the ban. Sources told IANS that the last three digits of legal lottery tickets of the Government of Kerala and other states where tickets are not banned are used for illegal lottery business in Tamil Nadu. There are two ways in which the agents lure gullible gamblers. One is to write the last three digits of the lottery tickets and for that Rs 10 is charged per ticket and a person can take a maximum of 2000 tickets. If he writes correctly all the three digits  and if he has taken 2000 tickets , he gets an amount of Rs 20 lakh for the 20,000 he has spent. If he is writing only the last digit then he is charged Rs 10 for one ticket and can write a maximum of 5000 tickets. If he correctly writes the last digit, he will get 5 lakh rupees.

An agent of the lottery king who has stopped the business ever since it was banned in Tamil Nadu while speaking to IANS said, “ People who get 500 to 600 Rupees per day spend the whole amount on such illegal tickets expecting that they get the prize and on almost all occasions they end up in the losing side. This leads to excessive drinking and in extreme cases suicide and unless the local police take stringent action, this will continue.”

Tamil Nadu police occasionally conducts crackdown on the illegal sale of lotteries and in January 2022, 569 people were arrested and an amount of Rs 50 lakh was confiscated from them. However sources told IANS that after that crackdown there was no further action from the law enforcement agencies.

A person who was once closely associated with this business told IANS that the illegal lottery chain runs to top level contacts and powerful persons are behind the racket. The major lottery conglomerate is directly controlling a major part of the business in Tamil Nadu and is operated through old lottery agents of the state who were in the sale before the ban.

While state police are claiming that it is cracking down on illegal lottery sales in the state, the business is taking place in the state unabated according to insiders.

It may be recalled that in 2019, a gold smith Arun ,had committed suicide along with his wife and three children in Villupuram, Tamil Nadu and had in a video recording stated that he had fallen prey to the ‘three digit illegal lottery ‘ in the state and requested police and government to take action against the perpetrators. Sources told IANS that after a few arrests and raids at the premises of illegal lottery sales, the issue died down and the situation is back to normal.

The money that is generated from the illegal lottery trade, according to sources ,is being routed through hawala networks and is mainly controlled by the agents of the ‘Lottery King’ based in Punjab and Kolkata.

While the state government is pitching for a clean economy and rooting out corruption and weeding out illegal business, the illegal sale of lottery tickets, as vouched by former agents and lottery insiders, is a blot in the face of the state home department.