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Online lotteries of other states to be banned in Maha

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Officials say there is no record of sales conducted online; state will encourage paper lottery system

Deputy Chief Minister and state Finance Minister Ajit Pawar has decided to ban online lotteries of other states as there is no record of their sales, resulting in a loss of revenue to Maharashtra government. Officials said Maharashtra will now encourage the old paper lottery system, which has helped states like West Bengal generate higher revenues.

Though the state banned its own online lottery long ago and operates only the paper lottery system, broadly known as Maharashtra Rajya Lottery, people prefer to purchase other state lotteries online. “The government has no control over this and there is no way to keep track of the transactions. For this lack of transparency, we have decided to ban the online system,” an official from the finance department said. The decision will be finalised at a cabinet meeting today.

While Maharashtra’s lottery revenues stand at around Rs 132 crore per year, states like Kerala earn around Rs 1,300 crore. The average daily business in Mumbai, which has around 4,000 stalls, is around Rs 15 crore. While 16 states have banned lotteries, the ones that still operate the system are Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Punjab, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram .

The state is grappling with a debt burden of Rs 6 lakh crore and is paying an interest amount of Rs 35,000 crore every year. Meanwhile, the state has announced a loan waiver of Rs 40,000 crore to farmers. The deputy CM has therefore instructed all departments to adopt cost-cutting measures and come up with ideas to increase the revenues.

Officials say there is no record of sales conducted online; state will encourage paper lottery system