The Indian state of Kerala is initiating sweeping reforms to combat illegal lottery operations in the state, according to The New Indian Express.
Among the reforms that the state government plans to implement are: the conduct of live telecast of the draw of lots; setting up of more offices of the Lottery Department in other districts; and revising the prize structure.
Finance Minister Thomas Isaac believes that these reforms will help the state government rein the illegal lotteries operating in the state when asked by V D Satheesan of the Congress during a reply to a notice for adjournment motion.
During the congressional hearing, Isaac conceded that the illegal lottery called ‘ezhuthu lottery’ was thriving in Kerala.
He explained that illegal lottery operators entices the public to place a bet in their lottery by offering prizes to those who correctly predicted the last three to four digits of the prize-winning Kerala State Lotteries.
There were a total of 544 cases that had been registered against illegal lottery operators over the past five years, according to Isaac, of which the majority – 291- were registered in Malappuram.
Isaac informed Satheesan that a task force headed by IG Balram Kumar Upadhyaya with two SPs, two DYSPs and cyber cell police had been constituted to check activities of illegal lottery operators.
For his part, Satheesan alleged that lottery operator Santiago Martin and a lottery agency in Kannur were behind the flourishing of illegal lotteries in the state. He also linked Martin to prominent leaders of the CPM.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala, who spoke on the issue, wondered how people like Santiago Martin stepped up their activities when the LDF government came to power.
Illegal casino busted in Delhi, 36 held
In other Indian gambling news, authorities rounded up 36 persons believed to be involved in an illegal casino in Delhi.
The Indian Express reported that the raid in Neb Sarai of south Delhi stemmed from a tip they received from an asset. A manhunt has been launched for Harnendra Kaushik, the owner of the premises, and Kunal Chandra, the proprietor of the casino.
“A total of 36 persons including players, table attendants and proprietors were arrested. Two separate cases under the Delhi Gambling Act and Delhi Excise Act were registered,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Ishwar Singh said. “We are moving the court requesting that the premises used for the casino be sealed under the Delhi Gambling Act.”