Frequently Asked Questions about lottery games in India
Is it legal to play lottery online in India? (including international lotteries)
Yes, with the following restrictions:
- Local Indian lotteries – there are 13 states in India that their government allow the sale of lottery tickets. By that, make it legal to buy a lottery ticket. The states are Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Sikkim, Nagaland, and Mizoram.
However, this doesn’t mean that online lotteries are legal as well. The states that currently allow online ticket purchases of Indian lotteries are Sikkim, Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
- International lotteries – There are no restrictions against international lotteries participation. This means every Indian citizen can legally purchase a ticket online to famous lottery draws. Such as US Powerball and Mega Millions.
Where can I purchase a ticket to play Indian lottery or international lotteries online?
- Local Indian lotteries – Every state that allows the sale of lotteries has its online website. You can use each website to see if and how you can purchase online lottery tickets online. For example, let’s compare Kerala with Sikkim. On Kerala lottery website they offer just results and general information. On Sikkim’s Playwin (read my review), biggest online lottery operation in India, the offer both results and an online ticket purchase option. Technically, any resident of a state in India that doesn’t ban lottery can play on Playwin’s platform.
- International lotteries outside of India – There are a lot of lottery agents which offer international lottery tickets. Here, on top10bestonlinelotto.com, I cover over 200 of them (!). I also list the best websites and even have a list specifically for India lotto players.
Are there online lotteries that don’t require deposit or investment?
Lottery agents can’t hand out lottery tickets. They are not related to the official lotteries. But they offer either scanned tickets or the option to place a wager on lottery draw results.
However, there are benefits to completing a first deposit or lottery ticket purchase with any of the brands in the comparison table. Benefits are the welcome bonuses that the different sites are offering. Bonuses like Buy 1 Get 1 or free additional lottery bets. We cover each site’s main bonus in our brand reviews section.
Can I play International lotteries using Indian payment methods?
- For local Indian lotteries (such as Jaldi 5 or Thursday Super Lotto) you need to have PlayWin account. You can open one on their website. However, charging it is not available online and you’ll need the local kiosks to charge your account with funds.
- For international lotteries (such as EuroJackpot or Irish Lotto) there are more than a few options. Each offers local Indian lotteries, accept Rupee and support local payment methods. Lotto Agent is one of the best, but there is also Lotto Smile and Lotto Kings.
What is the biggest lottery in India?
Thunderball, Thursday Super Lotto, and Saturday Super Lotto are the top three most popular lottery games in India. Any Indian citizen can buy a ticket and participate in any one of these lotteries. This applies only to states that allow it, and do not forbid it.
Who are the most famous jackpot winners in India?
There are a lot of winning stories, too many to mention here. I picked the three most exceptional ones of Indian citizens whose luck changed and lives turned. And here are the winners:
- Mofijul Rahima Sheikh, $150,000 – a 22-year-old, who left West Bengal to look for a job in construction in Kerala. A day after arriving in Kerala, Mofijul used his first-day salary of 50 rupees to buy a lottery ticket.
Moments after realizing he won 10m rupee prize ($150,000), he rushed to the nearest police station. He spent 2 days inside to secure his ticket.
Once he managed to deposit the prize money in the bank Mr. Sheikh returned joyfully to his town in West Bengal. This was just several days after leaving it to look for a job! The news in India was all over this amazing story.
- Harikrishnan V Nair, $3.2M – originally hails from Kerala, the 42-year-old business development manager won the biggest ever jackpot in Abu Dhabi’s big-ticket lottery on Jan 2018.
Nair left Kerala to work in a firm located in Dubai, in his 3rd attempt to play local lotteries he hit the jackpot with a win that changed his life completely.
- Nirmal Dhamodarasamy, $1M – a 23-year-old student that travelled to Chicago, U.S in order to complete his master’s degree in industrial engineering at the University of Illinois. He used Illinois lottery online service and purchased a Powerball subscription, it didn’t take long before he realized he won an incredible $1M prize on February 06th, 2016 Powerball draw.
The History and Journey of the Indian Lottery
The lotteries in India trackback to very old 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” (or Pachisi in Hindi).
Pasa dates back to even before the Indus valley civilization. the famous 7th-century prose writer Banabhatta mentions it in his book Kadambari. Pasa is a game of skill, unlike modern-day lotteries and other forms of gambling. Only the ones who knew how to play the game well would compete in it.
The British introduced modern-day lotteries and gambling to India. Initially, in the form of horse and dog races, and later in using animals for sports such as cockfights, elephant races, etc. Is now strictly illegal in most states and only a few states allow horse races. In one form or another, parts of India still practice gambling, sports betting, and lotteries.
Over time, lotteries developed into a government-based system. But in the earlier days, it was a private event.
Calcutta was the first to introduce the game of lottery. It was in 1984. Only certain sections of society were allowed to participate in the game, and others were prohibited.
The lottery prizes were only in kind. The information on whether the earlier forms of lotteries were taxable or not is not available. Seems Mr. Ratan Lal Chetteri from Bombay introduced a relatively simplified game of numbers known as the “Satta Matka”. It is not clear in which year this game was invented, but it arrived in Calcutta in the year 1969.
The governor of Madras was the first in India to introduce government-support lotteries – the provincial lottery. The new lottery game funded 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 travelling far and wide, India quickly jumped on board the lottery trend. The government of Kerala organized the first of its kind state-run lottery 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 moulded 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.
The bench noted that the temptation of instant lotteries has proven to be more than harmful to 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 from scammers and non-authorized retailers.
But the hope of winning the lottery and the 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.
Current India Lottery Law
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 eagerly wait for the draw results.
The southern states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were at one time, key centres for the sale of lottery tickets. Now, both states have completely banned the sale of lotteries of any kind. Concerns about addiction to lottery tickets, leading to severe consequences for families, were the cause of the ban. Most states in India followed the ban on lotteries. They state that, despite lotteries acting as a good source of revenue, the social cost is too high.
Online lottery is a cross country game and you’re invited to learn more about it here.