Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 27
The Akali-BJP government is not good just at political gamble. It seems to believe in taking the gambling route to rev up its revenues in today’s time of slow growth.
The right wing government has decided to bank on online lotteries and horse racing to earn money needed to fund the development works and offer sops, ahead of the Assembly elections next year, besides fulfilling its committed liabilities.
The government today allowed the lottery operators in the state to increase the number of daily draws from 42 to 48. Just a few months ago, the government had increased the draws from 30 to 42, helping it earn additional revenue of Rs20-22 crore per annum.
The annual revenue the state earns from lottery is around Rs105 crore. Attempts have been made to bring an online lottery, but these failed to take off, with the lottery operators not warming enough to the idea.
Lottery is not the only “gambling” idea with the government to increase its revenues. Sincere attempts have been made to set up a turf club for equestrian enthusiasts so that a racecourse can be set up in Ludhiana, a pet project of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal.
The Punjab Infrastructure Development Board, which is supposed to set up the turf club and the racecourse, had floated tenders for the Rs300 crore project.
Sources in the PIDB have told The Tribune that US-based Stronach Group, the only bidder for the project, had sought to first check the viability of setting up a racecourse in Punjab, by being first allowed to invite off course bids on horse racing events in the US for 18 months.
People here will be shown live feed of horseracing events to bet on it. Based on the revenues this off course betting, the bidder will decide on setting up a racecourse in Ludhiana. The decision on either allowing the off course betting on horseracing or inviting fresh tenders is yet to be taken.
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