From this Thursday, India’s individual states can ban online lotteries based in other states from serving their residents, according to the recent decision of India’s Supreme Court.
The southwestern state of Kerala has already prohibited all lotteries in the state from January 2005. Three months later, they made a revision that permits state-run paper lottery sales only, where lottery drawings are held once a week.
The SC’s decided the Kerala ban on online lotteries within any state’s legislative competence as an after-effect of the appeal by All Kerala Online Lottery Dealers Association as well as the states of Sikkim, Meghalaya and Nagaland. The Sikkim government being particularly tolerant about gambling among other states, had debated stating that one of their most significant source of lottery revenue comes from online play by the residents of Kerala.
The three-judge bench of Chief Justice HL Dattu, Justices RK Agrawal and Arun Mishra sided with the Kerala ban mentioning that it was in the public interest and the petitioners could not show any compelling reasons that can reject lower court decisions.
Tickets generated from online lottery terminals in Kerala did not bear the imprint of the Kerala government, as the Court noted. It added that Sikkim does not have any power over the lottery terminals situated outside its borders; as a result customers are unsure whether the purchased tickets have legitimacy.
According to the Times of India, the ruling stated, “So, by holding several lotteries, there can be several draws with a gap of few minutes in a day and the gullible will remain glued and there is every likelihood of purchase of tickets repeatedly, till all his savings are exhausted. So, if the Government takes a decision in public interest to prohibit online lotteries, this Court should not interfere with the said decision unless there are compelling grounds.”
The Court also deemed all types of gambling as a morally bad practice, though it indicated that lotteries are far more harmful compared to the other forms. “The former are confined to a few people and places, but the latter 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,” it said.