After testing paper lotteries, Bhutan Lottery Limited will be venturing into online lottery.
Two i-lotteries and a terminal based lottery are expected to hit the market by October this year.
BLL officials are working to launch the product after completing software development which will be outsourced to a private firm through open tender soon. Bingo and Crossword which are i-lottery and Lotto Jackpot, terminal based lottery,will be available for interested individuals.
The online lottery will be an app or web-based lottery where registered Bhutanese players can take part with their bank accounts. And the Lotto Jackpot can be played from terminals which will be installed by BLL. Forty-six such terminals will be installed across the country.
Bingo and crossword puzzle can be played on smart phones after registering with the BLL office.
Meanwhile BLL will look into responsible gambling following due procedure of the country’s laws: age limits will be imposed and frequency of games played by an individual player will be restricted. Online gaming platform will be open after office hours so that office goers refrain from playing during work. It also enables account limits so that players are not entertained after playing for an allotted amount of money from his account in a month. “Everything is planned and we are working on its introduction,” said Gayley Dorji, Marketing officer at BLL said. He said that the products are being launched to entertain people.
BLL hopes the online gaming platform will be a success today with e-payments becoming popular among Bhutanese customers. The game will be designed for entertainment purposes too. It will take another few months to launch the online lottery.
However, the online lottery, too, will be restricted to Bhutanese only owing to numerous formalities the office needs to abide by.
Also, only Nu 500 worth of lottery will be allowed to an individual player per month. “It is to refrain from people getting into addiction,” Gayley Dorji said. Since the products are electronically controlled by BLL, there is assurance of absence of manipulation, according to BLL’s IT Technician, Saran Gurung.
BLL expects to earn around Nu 18mn annually from these products only.
So far, BLL has launched five products in the market. However, Phuensum Mid Dharim, a fortnightly drawn lottery has replaced Phuensum Dharim which was drawn every month. The winner takes Nu 0.5mn while the two runners up take Nu 0.2mn and 0.1mn respectively. Phuensum Mid-Dharim, Phuensum Quick Cash and Special Reydrup Bumper are still in the market.
BLL introduced its first monthly paper lottery and called it Phuensum Dharim sold for Nu 50 per ticket. It continued till mid-2018. Along with the Dharim lottery, a special bumper lottery was also introduced in December 2016 which is still in the market. Thuensum Scratch card and sold for Nu 30 per ticket was launched in 2017. Last year, Thuensum Quick Cash sold for Nu. 20/ticket hit the market.
BLL has recorded increasing profit for three years since its launch in 2017. The annual turnover for the agency has increased from Nu 25.124mn in 2016 to Nu 229mn in 2018. The profit has also increased from Nu 0.752mn to 34.062mn in the same period, after tax.
BLL paid Nu 133.829mn as prize money to the winners last year alone.
Krishna Ghalley from Phuentsholing