All You Need To Know On Playing Lottery Online In India and My Pick Of Top Lottery Agents
Is it possible to buy lottery tickets online in India? Absolutely. In fact, India is the fastest growing country within this niche. Indians now have the option of buying lottery tickets of the world’s leading lotteries. Not only lotto tickets, but play scratch cards, Keno, and other instant win games. In recent years, more online lottery agents give services to more and more India residents.
Just below my top picks table – where I list the leading online lottery agents – I cover, in details, the lottery system in India. After spending more than a few hours researching multiple sources online, I have a much better under standing of many related aspects.
In my overview, I cover the history of India’s lottery system – oldest record of lotteries and gambling can be traced back to a time even before the Indus Valley civilization – which states of the union allow selling lottery tickets, the options lottery players have to chose from, payment methods accepted, taxable winnings, and more.
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How To Buy A Lottery Ticket Online In India?
Before I dive into details, here’s a short guide to buying lotto tickets online.
All you have to do is follow these steps:
First You’ll need to open an account
Any one of the leading lottery agents shown in the table above are highly recommended and trustworthy. For opening an account, click on the button in the table and complete the registration process. You’ll be asked for the basic identification details – name, email, etc.
Than pick the lottery draw that best suites your need
Different lottery agent offer different lotteries. But for the most part, the leading lottos are offered by those in the list above – Powerball, Euro Millions, and Euro Jackpot. If you’d like to check our more of the lotteries we reviewed, see our review archive. For each lotto there are rules and conditions that are thoroughly by the lotto operator.
Last you’ll complete a first purchase of a lucky ticket
When you have an account, picket the lottery you like and your lucky number, all that is left is completing a first ticket purchase. The agents accept a variety of payment methods that are readily available across many countries. Upon finishing the payment process, you’ll become the owner of a ticket granting you the option of competing for a life altering jackpot.
All That An Online Lottery Player In India Have To Know On The Lotto System In India
The game of lotteries entices everyone across the globe. Over the past decade, more and more people have shown interest in taking part in the lotteries. One of the biggest state-run lotteries in the world is the United States lottery. Today, participants for the US lotteries hail from different destinations on the globe. Technology has made it easier and more accessible for people to participate in the lottery games. The lotteries also act as a major form of revenue and income for countries and states. With the massive success of the United States lottery system, it is only obvious that other countries would follow suit.
India is the fastest growing country in the world. It also has a relatively quick advancing lottery system. The lottery system in India is run by individual states. In most states in the country, it is still illegal to sell and/or purchase lottery tickets. As per the national law, legislation for gambling and lotteries is set by each of the states. In the states that allow the sale of lotteries (13 states as of today), people can play the lottery games both online and offline (on-site).
Let us begin with the history and journey of the lottery system in India.
The History and Journey of the Indian Lottery
The lotteries in India can be traced back to very olden times. There have been instances of lotteries and gambling that can be seen in traditional stories. One such example is in the book of Mahabharata in the form of the game “Pasa”. It is recorded that Pasa can be dated even before the Indus valley civilization. It was also mentioned by the famous 7th-century prose writer Banabhatta in his book Kadambari. It is noted that unlike the modern day lotteries and gambling, Pasa was a game of skill and thus was limited to only those who understood how to play the game. Today’s lotteries are played as a game of chances and luck.
The modern-day gambling and lotteries were introduced in India by the British in the form of horse races and dog races. Other than horse races, gambling by using animals for sports such as cockfights, elephant races etc. is now strictly illegal. Few states allow horse races. Gambling and lotteries are, however, still practiced in parts of India in some form or the other.
Over time, lotteries developed into a government based system. But in the earlier days, it was a private event. In 1984, the game of lotteries was introduced privately in Calcutta. It was exclusive to certain sections of the society and outsiders were strictly prohibited from participating. The lottery prizes were only in kind. The information on whether the earlier forms of lotteries were taxable or not is not available. It is believed that Mr. Ratan Lal Chetteri from Bombay introduced a relatively simplified game of number known as the “Satta”. The year this game was created is not clear, but it was introduced in Calcutta in the year 1969.
The first government-supported lotteries were introduced by the governor of Madras. Known as the provincial lottery, this was introduced to generate funds for construction and welfare activities. The revenue made from this lottery financed the construction and running of the Victoria Hall, the Rippon building, government museums and various theatre halls.
With the stories of experiences and successes of lotteries from other countries traveling far and wide, India quickly jumped onboard the lottery trend. The first of its kind state-run lottery was organized by the government of Kerala in 1968. This perked a lot of interest among the state’s residents. The success of Kerala’s lotteries was an eye opener for the other states. Following in the footsteps of the southern state, the rest of the states and the union territories began running their own lotteries for different purposes. The lotteries had then become a good form of business and revenue. Almost all the states had their weekly, monthly and annual jackpot lotteries. It had molded itself into a highly institutionalized structure. There were both online and on-site sales of lotteries. And many industries flourished under the lottery system.
The change in lottery laws
In 2015, the Supreme Court of India changed the laws on lotteries and allowed state governments to ban the sale of lotteries. This court judgment came from an appeal filed by the All Kerala Lottery Dealers Association against the ban of online lotteries. The three-judge bench of chief justice HL Dattu, Justice RK Agarwal and Justice Arun Mishra refused to recognize the sale of lotteries as a fundamental right and upheld the Kerala government’s decision to ban the online sale of lotteries in the same year. It was noted by the bench that the temptation of the instant lotteries has proven to be more than harmful to the lower income families, especially for those earning daily wages. Despite a strong set of guidelines issued and regulated by the government, there is no control over the risks that families face because of investing all their income and savings on lottery tickets. The scams still continued and the poorest families faced the harshest consequences. It was also noted that experience has shown that it is often the most vulnerable families and individuals who invest in these lotteries. And often, they do not have the knowledge or awareness required to stay away for scammers and non-authorized retailers. But the hope of winning the lottery and dream of having a life-changing event pushes people to go back and invest in the tickets continuously. The situation of the poorest people in India and the issues they face because of lottery addiction makes the idea of lotteries complex and not easily acceptable by most people in the country. Thus, as of 2015, the law states that each state has the right to have its own set of rules with regard to the online and on-site sale of lotteries. After the Supreme Court ruling of 2015, most states have officially banned the sale of lotteries.
The lottery law as of today
The lotteries in India fall under The Lotteries (Regulations) Act, 1998. As mentioned above, the states and union territories in India have their own set of rules and regulations for the state-run lotteries. There is no national ban on lotteries. However, at present, only 13 states in India consider the sale of lottery tickets to be legal. These states are Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland, and Mizoram. The most popular lotteries and run in the states of Maharashtra, Mizoram, Kerala, Nagaland, and Sikkim. The residents take an active interest in these lotteries and the results are awaited by everyone. The southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were at one time, key centers for sale of lottery tickets. Now, both the states have completely banned the sale of lotteries of any kind. This happened because concerns were raised about addiction to lottery tickets leading to severe consequences for families. Thus, most states in India banned lotteries stating that despite lotteries being a good source of revenue, the social cost to be borne was too high.
Purchasing lottery tickets online
The choice of selling tickets online legally is left in the hands of the state. The states are in complete control of the lottery sales in their jurisdiction. This helps ensure that the sales are done in a fair manner and the authorized retailers meet the legal requirements. Few states allow purchasing of lottery tickets online. One can also purchase lottery tickets from another state online. However, each state has its separate set of lottery rules and regulations and it is advisable that the buyer checks with the relevant state’s legalities with regard to this. Even among the states that have online lotteries, fewer allow online sales of lotteries. This information can be found on the state’s lottery website. Every state that allows the sale of lotteries has its online website. This website can be used to get relevant information and keep live track of the announcements for the winning numbers.
The states also have different types of lotteries that can be played. For example, let us look at Kerala, Punjab and Sikkim lotteries which garner the most number of buyers for lottery tickets in India. The Kerala lotteries have been running since 1967 and were established by the then state finance minister, Shri.P.K Kunju Sahib. The state has weekly lotteries, Bumper lotteries that happen at different times in a year – winners can win up to Rs. 10 crores, and the Xmas New Year lotteries that happen annually for which the numbers are drawn in January. The first prize for the Xmas New Year lotteries is Rs. 6 crores. The Punjab lottery has four major lottery schemes for players other than the weekly and monthly lotteries – Baisakhi Bumper Lottery, Rakhi Lottery, Punjab State Diwali Bumper and The New Year Lohri Bumper. The Sikkim state-run lottery is the most popular among the lotteries. It is a Sikkim government-run lottery. The same Sikkim government also runs the biggest lottery company in the country – Playwin. Similar to its counterparts, the Sikkim state lottery also has daily and weekly schemes. Along with this, it has the Sikkim Dear Scheme, Derby Scheme, and the Singam great evening draw. All of these tickets can be purchased online and on-site. There are no hard and fast rules about online purchase and sales of lottery tickets in India. The law varies state to state and thus all legal information must be collected before the investing in lottery tickets.
Indian citizens can win foreign lotteries. The lottery tickets for these international lotteries are available online and are not bound by the Indian law on lottery since the number draw happens outside the country. Similarly, those who are not citizens of India can play the Indian lottery. But the limitations of citizenship and residential status varies from states to state. Sikkim, for example, functions as a multi-state lottery, allowing residents from four other states to participate in the lottery. On the other hand, there are states that do not allow residents of other states to participate in certain lotteries. The buyers will have to individually check online or go to an authorized retailer or sales agent who will be able to provide this information. Since each state has its own set of rules and legalities, the games played and the pre-requisites for the players are defined by each state separately. The lottery laws in India keep changing every two to three years. It is important for the buyers to not only check for legal and other relevant information online but also to check for the latest updated information. The buyers should also be aware of the illegal sales of lottery tickets. Although it is often difficult to control the illegal sales of lottery tickets in India, the prize money comes only from the state-run lotteries. This means that buyers purchasing tickets from unauthorized retailers or sales agents are at the risk of losing their money on an invalid lottery ticket. Thus, the first step for any buyer is to do their homework on lotteries and have a clear understanding of how the system works before investing in the lottery tickets. This information can be found online on the state’s lottery website. The easiest way to get the correct information would be to go to the counter where lottery tickets are sold and ask them for details. Once all the required information has been collected, then the lotteries that can be accessed and are available should be analyzed before finally purchasing a ticket. One should never forget that as amazing as winning a lottery would be, it comes with its risks.
Keep reading below to find out some important facts and pieces of information that all the buyers should know before investing in a lottery ticket in India.
For the Buyers to know
The states in India set their separate laws for their state-run lotteries. They can only control the lotteries that fall within their jurisdiction. The buyers should choose the lottery they want to invest carefully. All buyers of lottery tickets in India must be 18 years of age or older. Selling lottery tickets to a minor (younger than 18) is deemed to be illegal. This applies to all the state lotteries. It is also required that the buyers of the lottery tickets be residents of the state for which they are purchasing the lotteries. However, this is not fixed and few multi-state lotteries allow residents of other states to participate in their state lotteries online. This information should be checked before purchasing any lotteries.
The biggest state-run lottery game is the Playwin Indian Lottery. This is a Sikkim government regulated lottery. The lottery has different types of lottery games. Three of the most popular Playwin games are Thunderball, Thursday Super Lotto, and Saturday Super Lotto. The players can choose to play either one or more than one game at a time to help increase the chances of winning the prize money.
Like all the other lotteries, to be able to participate in Playwin, the buyer must be 18 years of age or older. Here, the state of Sikkim has listed out other states that are allowed to participate in this lottery. The buyer of this ticket must be a resident of Sikkim, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra or West Bengal.
The difference between lotteries and gambling
he first thing that buyers need to understand before they set out to find information on their lottery of choice, is that lotteries are legal in 13 states in India. But gambling is banned across the country. There are many illegal gambling and betting games that are difficult to regulate in India making the line between gambling and lotteries almost invisible. Therefore, let us understand the difference. A lottery is a form of gambling that involves the drawing of different numbers for a prize. The prize can be won in cash or in kind. Most of the jackpot lotteries have prize money for the winning numbers. Gambling refers to wagering of money or something in kind on an event with an uncertain outcome. Betting on sport events, for example, is considered to be a form of gambling. The outcome in gambling in immediate and can get very addictive. Thus, gambling is deemed to be illegal in most places including India.
The legal consequence of gambling and lotteries
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 prohibits running a public gaming house. This is a crime punishable by cash or imprisonment of up to 3 months. Visiting a gambling house is also punishable by cash or imprisonment of up to one month. The Information Technology Act of 2000 regulates all cyber activities in India. As per this act, publication or transmission of any information that can corrupt people is punishable by law. This includes online gambling. The punishment for this crime is a fee of Rs. 100,000 or imprisonment up to 5 years. Contrast to this, the sale of online and on-site lottery tickets is not illegal or punishable by national law. It is a state regulated law and lottery tickets can be sold in states that have not banned lotteries.
In order to participate and win lotteries, it is not required that the buyer be a permanent resident of the state. Other than lotteries that allow residents from different states to participants, someone who has migrated from one state to another for work will also be able to win the lottery money. In 2016, a story broke out when a young man from West Bengal who had moved to Kerala in search of work won Rs. 1 crore in the Kerala run lottery. He was able to receive police protection until he submitted the lottery ticket at the bank to claim the prize the next day. There have been no known recorded stories of a foreigner participating in Indian lotteries and winning. There does not seem to any blanket law about foreigners and immigrants being allowed to participate in lottery either. However, this may be state bound and any non-Indian citizen planning on investing in state-run lotteries in India should consult with an attorney or with an authorized sales agent on the law.
Beware of scams
The state’s online website will have the details of who the authorized sales agents and retailers are. For the safety of the buyers, it is advisable that purchase of tickets be done only through known authorized retailers. The ban on lotteries is not proving to be highly effective because there are still illegal online operations through which people can participate and check the winning numbers. One of the tips to be kept in mind is that the lottery tickets sold by the state-run lotteries will have the logo of the state’s lottery company on the tickets. Any tickets sold without the official logo is invalid. Once the ticket is bought, the buyer should sign the ticket and keep it with them at all times. This is to avoid fraudulent activities. Even if the ticket is lost or stolen, it will be difficult to claim the ticket if the signature on the ticket and on the claiming form does not match. The winning numbers should also be checked at the correct avenues and platforms. Here also, there is room for being scammed if the buyer is negligent and if this is done through a middleman. The correct winning numbers can be found in any of the daily newspapers, official online websites and through authorized retailers and sales agents.
The WhatsApp scam
It is easier for unauthorized sales agents to scam buyers via online purchases. Despite the advance in technology and increased regulation of online businesses, it is still difficult to keep track of every individual’s online business. Especially, if it is illegal and unregistered. The latest (May 2018) of such scams is being done through WhatsApp, an application that almost everyone uses nowadays. In Meghalaya, a series of fake messages had been circulating to a lot of people via WhatsApp. This message states that they have won the lottery and in order to claim the prize, the only thing to be done is to pay a processing fee. An official public statement was issued as a warning by the Tura city police. This is not the first instance where messages such as these have fooled people. We share our phone numbers everywhere – at restaurants, department stores, our clinics, online applications. This makes it easy for scammers to get a hold of our numbers. Buyers should be aware that these messages are fraudulent. Not only messages, but website pop-ups, Facebook messages, spam e-mails – all of these have to be dealt with caution. Buyers should respond only to those lotteries where they have invested.
There is an age limit
A minor cannot purchase lottery tickets online or on-site. It is also not recommended for lottery tickets to be given as gifts to minors. Although it is not illegal, it is frowned upon and seen in bad light. If a minor wins a lottery prize money, it also makes claiming the money difficult as only those above the age of 18 can claim the prize. If a buyer is already in this position, then the best option would be to consult an attorney and have the guardian of the child claim the prize on their behalf.
Paying for lotteries
When purchasing lottery tickets directly at the sale points, the tickets have to be bought in cash. Few retail stores allow purchasing lottery tickets via debit cards. It is not encouraged to buy lottery tickets using credit cards. When purchasing online, payments can be done through debit cards and certain websites also allow credit cards. Most common credit and debit cards that are acceptable are MasterCard and Visa. The most common e-wallet application that is accepted in lottery websites is PayPal. Before making the final payment, the buyer should make sure that the website is a legal and authorized sales agent.
For winners to know
Not everyone has the luck to win the lotteries. But for those who do, there are few important things to be noted and remembered. These will help navigate the process of claiming the prize money much easier. Before anything else, get legal aid once it has been confirmed that you have won a large sum of money. The winner should always get an attorney who can help them.
All lottery tickets have expiration dates. It rules of claiming the prize money changes from state to state and also from lottery game to game. In general, the tickets expire within 30 days from the date the winning numbers are announced. Since it varies, the winner should confirm the expiration dates. If the tickets are not claimed within the stipulated period, then the prize money goes back into the pool of money set aside for the lotteries. One of the mistakes that most winners do is to check winning numbers for only big jackpots. It should be kept in mind that there are 2nd, 3rd, and other consolation prizes as well and the winning money is no small amount. For example, although the winning prize for Sikkim’s New Year Bumper is Rs. 2 crores, the 2nd prize is Rs. 15 lakhs and the 3rd prize is Rs. 10 lakhs.
Go to the bank
After getting legal aid and finalizing a plan with the attorney, the next step is to go to the bank. The winning tickets can be claimed at the nearest national, scheduled, state or district co-operative banks. If the amount is relatively small, then the money will be handed over directly. If not, it will be transferred to the bank account. The time period can be confirmed at the bank. If the winner has won more than Rs. 1 lakh, then the winning ticket must be submitted to the director of state lotteries with attached signature, name and address of the winner. Each state also has a set of forms that the winner will have to submit. Once everything is processed, the prize money will be transferred to the winner’s bank account after deducting the relevant taxes.
Taxes are applicable on the lottery prizes
The prize money and any prize received in kind are both subject to taxes. Prize monies and any prize won in kind under lotteries and other games are considered to be taxable income. They are taxable under the head “income from other sources”. Income from other sources is taxable at a flat rate of 30%. Along with this, cess charges will also be added making the total taxable amount at 30.9%. The same taxes are applicable for also any game show or entertainment program winnings. For prize money exceeding Rs. 10,000, deduction 30.9% of TDS (tax deducted at source) is applicable. It is the responsibility of the distributor to ensure that this sum is deducted before handing over the money to the winner. There will be no deductions and expenditures allowed on this taxable percentage. Winners should also note that prize money is taxable for everyone. It does not matter whether the income of the winner is taxable or not.
For lottery prizes issues in kind, such as a car, the distributors have two options – either to recover the tax costs from the winner or to bear the costs themselves. The same 30.9% is applicable here as well. This percentage will be charged to the market value of the car at the time. The winner can consult with an attorney on their options. If the amount to be paid as the tax becomes burdensome, then a viable option would be to sell the new car and use the sales money to pay off the taxes. This way, the difference between the sales and the taxable sum can be retained with the winner.
In instances where the prize is given in both cash and in kind, the taxable percentage should be calculated on the prize money and the market value of the car. The car will be handed over and tax sum will be deducted from prize money while transferring the prize. In case the balance prize money is not sufficient to cover the taxes, then either the winner or the distributor will have to bear the deficit costs.
Claiming the prize anonymously
In India, the different types of lotteries have different kinds of claims processes. Although for most, the winning numbers are announced, there are lotteries in which soon after the winning numbers, the list of the names of winners are announced on the state newspapers. There does not seem to be a strict set of rules in terms of whether one can claim the winning prize anonymously. It is best to check with an attorney or the state’s lottery agency on what the rules are for wanting to claim the prize money anonymously.
As long as every participant is completely aware of the state lottery rules and prepares beforehand for any predictable danger, the lottery can be a fun and life-changing experience. The key is to know all that you need to know about the online lottery system in India.
We’ve gone through India’s lottery history, which rich and very old; touched on the laws allowing each of the 13 states in the Indian union to control, in full, of gaming regulation within it’s jurisdiction.
Now that you’re a little more educated, I welcome you to have a pick from on of my top list lottery agents that give the absolute best service for India based lottery players. Here’s my top 10.