The government is looking into the possibility of starting an online lottery business. The Finance Minister, Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, said the government has approached Switzerland and Singapore where the online lottery business is popular. This was revealed during the question-hour session of the National Assembly session on May 26.
MP of Gangzur-Minjey constituency, Karma Rangdol, questioned the government on why the lottery business operation in India was not started as pledged. He stated that it would solve the Indian rupee shortage problem in Bhutan.
Lyonpo Namgay Dorji informed the House that restarting of lottery operation in India, as pledged by the government, has its complications. He stated that the Opposition knows about the lottery business better than anyone else as it was closed during their time.
He said that the lottery business did not function in accordance with the agreement made with the agent in India and this was declared as an illegal business. The case is pending in Kerala court, which is the reason why the government cannot restart the lottery business.
He informed that House that the government has not fulfilled the pledge of restarting of the lottery operation in India as it was banned in 2011. Further, he said that if the previous government had informed the nation about the problems and given clear knowledge on why the lottery business in India was banned, then the new government would not have made such a pledge.
He said that the government worked very hard to restart the lottery operation in India, as the business will help to generate the rupee flow into our country, but the government was not able to restart it.
However, Lyonpo said the government hopes to restart the lottery operation when the court case in Kerala is over. “If government restarts the business immediately then it might affect the good relationship between Bhutan and India,” he said
He said that the lottery business operation in India was started in 1976, helping to earn an income and to generate Indian Rupee (INR), a much needed currency as Bhutan imports almost all the goods from India.