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State govt plans to impose new taxes on lotteries
July, 27th 2006

Lotteries will soon become expensive in state. The state Cabinet on Wednesday has decided to introduce a tax on all lottery schemes operating in Maharashtra, including those from other states.

Chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said the tax would check the mushrooming of lottery draws and schemes being run in the state by operators from other states. The decision is expected to make the state government richer by around Rs 150 crore. We have no legal mechanism to ban lottery draws and schemes of other states operating in Maharashtra. But we can bring them in the tax net, Mr Deshmukh told the media after the weekly Cabinet meet.

The Cabinet has approved to a blueprint for revised regulation. It seeks to levy a yearly tax of Rs 50,000 on weekly lotteries, Rs 1 lakh on fortnightly schemes, Rs 2 lakh on monthly lotteries and Rs 10 lakh on bumper schemes.
The chief minister said the state has close to 2,500 lottery schemes and draws per day. The regulation and lottery tax will bring this number down to 150-200 per day. We have also decided to regulate the timings of announcing lottery draws between 4 pm and 9 pm, Mr Deshmukh said.

At present, the states revenue from lotteries is around Rs 27 crore.

In order to increase revenues and regulate the lottery market, the state has also decided to levy a licence fee of Rs 500 per month on lottery terminals. Mr Deshmukh said revised lottery tax and its regulation will come into force after the Cabinet notification.

Earlier this year, the state government had decided to levy sales tax on the lotteries from all states including Maharashtra. However, lottery operators then moved court against the tax challenging the states description of lottery as goods. Earlier it was sales tax but there was a legal query whether lottery could be defined as goods. We have removed this anomaly and have decided to introduce lottery tax now, Mr Deshmukh said.

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