The Maharashtra government wants to ban online lotteries of other states as it is not gaining any revenue from them. With this objective in mind, the state government will send a delegation of officials to West to learn from its experience of implementing the ban on online lotteries there.
The decision in this regards was taken by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar after a meeting to discuss implementation of the ban.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee banned the online lotteries in 2013, calling it a “social problem”.
In Maharashtra, the paper lottery system would remain as it is, but the online lotteries from other states would be withdrawn, an official from the finance department had said earlier.
The delegation will have officers from police and finance department to study the system in West Bengal, the official said.
“Our state does not have its own online lotteries, while other states have online lotteries which are illegal. This is affecting our revenue consistently and hence the department is considering to ban online lotteries from other states,” he added. Maharashtra’s lottery revenues stand at around Rs 132 crore per year, while states like Kerala earn around Rs 1,300 crore.
The average daily business in Mumbai, which has nearly 4,000 stalls, is about Rs 15 crore. In the country, 16 states have banned lotteries, the ones that are still operating them are Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Punjab, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland and Mizoram.
A delegation of lottery sellers met Ajit Pawar, state finance minister Shambhuraje Desai to request them not to ban the online lottery.
“There are about eight lakh direct and indirect people dependent on the online lottery business. After the Centre introduced 28 per cent GST slab for the lotteries, about five lakh sellers were forced to shut the shops. Now, with the proposed ban more people would get jobless. We have requested the state government to start our online lottery for more revenue and the ministers have assured us to look into the matter,” Manoj Warang, president of Shiv Sena’s Lottery Vikreta Sena said.
After the Centre introduced GST in 2017-18, the slab for Maharashtra lottery was 12 per cent, while for the other states it was 28 per cent. In December 2019, the slab was rationalised to 28 per cent for all state lotteries, resulting in losses.
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 chief minister has therefore instructed all departments to adopt cost-cutting measures and come up with ideas to increase the revenues.
Source- Mumbai Mirror.