Negotiations are underway with relevant state governments of India to restart the Bhutan lottery business as pledged by the government.
During the monthly Meet-the-Press, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said, “The government has been looking at starting the business so that we will be ready whenever the opportunity arises to expand the business.”
He said that the lottery business is an economic opportunity as the business can generate the revenue required for social and infrastructural development in the country.
PM said the government will bring a closure the controversy surrounding the lottery business. The finance ministry and foreign affairs ministry have been asked to work together to bring the closure and to advise government on the matter.
“This is one thing that foreign ministry will consider very carefully because this involves foreign policy, sovereignty, and it involves two countries, and therefore, we cannot take a rushed decision,” Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay said.
PM said the lottery business is easier to start within the country, but at an appropriate time. He said the online lottery is being decided, but has to clear the BICMA Act as to whether the online lottery will fall under the definition of gambling.
PM also said that the government is serious about the possibilities of generating revenue through lottery, but there is a need for caution with the lottery business.
Bhutan Lottery started in 1987 and was the sole government agency responsible for the lottery business in the country. Bhutan lottery was generating more than Nu 210 mn annually.