Goa: BJP MLA suggests legalising ‘Matka gambling’ to increase exchequer revenue

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Amidst the debate on the new GST rate, BJP MLA in Goa, Michael Lobo, proposed that the government should include “Matka Gambling” in the state lottery. This will further help the state exchequer collect more revenue through GST.

“Matka is profitable. It is operated in all constituencies. If it is brought under lotteries, then the state government will gain profit through GST. In a big way, the treasury will get money. Also, people will get money officially,” Lobo said in his statement.

The MLA, while putting forward his request, tipped a controversial and thought-provoking issue of legalising some forms of gambling. Lobo suggested that several illegal Matka operations are already taking place, why not bring them under the law and regulate.

Matka is a number select-based betting where a person selects number from 00 to 99. The first digit is called ‘open’, and the second digit is called ‘close’. The person guessing the correct number wins.

Although earlier this month, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced that the state will be cracking down on these illegal Matka operations during a public appearance on ‘Hello Goenkar’ on Doordarshan, where a person picked up the topic of Matka gambling.

Currently, the only forms of gambling allowed in India are casinos, lottery and horse racing. The problem here is not gambling but rather morality, as the majority of people in India are against gambling. Despite there being three legal gambling options, most states choose not to permit them for ethical reasons.

The government have recently increased the tax rate for online real money gaming, casinos and horse racing to 28% on full face value. It is believed that with this increase, the government tax revenue from these industries will see a significant increase. This sparks the question if the government actually need more revenue through legalising more gambling.