Questionable lottery


According to Business Bhutan, Nu 150 billion worth of Bhutanese lottery tickets were printed illegally every year in the Indian state of Kerala alone. That’s a lot of money by any measure. But to get a proper sense of how much Nu 150 billion really is, consider that our entire GDP is only about Nu 60 billion. Or that the Tenth Five Year Plan outlay is Nu 148 billion (the Ninth Plan outlay was Nu 70 billion).

So I was surprised to learn that the prime minister’s fist response to the alleged lottery scam was remarkably casual. The prime minister has admitted that the lottery “business was unethical and not in conformity with the GNH values.” This is an important announcement. But surely it cannot substitute for a complete investigation.

The allegations against the government’s lottery agent are extremely serious. And it would do well to investigate – immediately and thoroughly – if our lottery agent has indeed printed and sold fake Bhutanese lottery tickets in India. We owe as much to the government and people of India who have allowed us to engage in this very lucrative business for the past 25 years.

The prime minister has also been reported as saying that “…his government has nothing to do with the lottery issue and that the decisions were taken by the interim government in 2007.” That may be so. But none-the-less, the government owes the people of Bhutan some explanations.

Why, for instance, did this government, in March 2010, transfer its agreement with Martin Agencies to Monica Agencies even though they both belonged to the same person?

Why did this government extend the duration of the agreement with Monica Agencies by five months?

Why did this government reduce the contract from Nu 470 million per year to Nu 210 million per year, even though Bhutan lottery sales had been re-permitted in Kerala?

And why was one person allowed to run the Bhutan Lottery Directorate since 1987?

The government must provide satisfactory answers to these and other pressing questions. Otherwise, the ACC must investigate.

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  1. Someone should be held accountable. No more lying to the public. Instead of answering questions directly the PM just changes topic by saying how immoral lottery business is. Let me tell you something people, so is greed of all the MPs and ministers. They are all immoral. It did not stop them from gauging the government of all kinds of benefits they can think of.

    Lottery is the easiest business to run. I don’t know why Bhutanese government is not running lottery just within Bhutan. Have a weekly Bhutanse lottery with the prize dependent on the put size. Only Bhutanese national allowed to play. Put the profit back to development.

  2. Dear OL,

    I said this before and I am saying it again…as the Leader of the Opposition and/or as elected representative of the people (voice of the people),it falls on people like you to get to the bottom of this scandal.
    In the final analysis, I guess that’s what check and balance is all about..the role of the opposition!! Raise it, even, as an agenda item in the NA session. Issues affecting the interest of the country due either to financial implications, implications on our sovereignty,people’s welfare, or implications of the country having to function as someone’s puppet, etc…these are issues in which an effective and efficient Opposition has to butt in, rather than bickering on nonsensical issues that any person, with the right imagination, can understand is done for gaining political mileage.


  3. Raba Sharang says

    Lottery business is a real bullshit. It’s the easiest means by which the poor are tempted and looted for nothing.

  4. May be the government can use your attorney general to fight against lottery scam.who ever has taken the decision,but it is the responsibility of the present govt. to look in to this matter,otherwise who will do,the people?Many times it was reported in media but the reaction from the governments side is like pouring of water on stone.

  5. I second the proposition of kinga. Lottery scam is a slur on otherwise pristine reputation of RGOB. Such thing should not be allowed. This issue needs discussion at the highest level and appropriate action must be taken.


  6. It is safe to say that some people in Bhutan have made huge amounts of money from this lottery deal. The question is 1) can it be proved and 2) do we have the political will to instigate a thorough investigation and then convict the guilty parties.

    Sadly, I believe the answer to be a big NO.

  7. Phub Dorji wang says

    The Director of Bhutan Lottery should be held reponsible for putting Bhutan in the Corruption Scam in India and tarnishing our country’s image. Government have failed to change the director who have been running the organization as if it is his property, for many years. Long ago we hear that the Bhutan Lottery is fast selling lotery in many Indian States.Had our lottery system been properly operated, it would had been the largest fund contributor in our country’s exchequer. Bhutan need not have gone for external borrowing and loan liability would have been much lower which is almarming at the moment. We have failed in the matter. Congratulations to Business Bhutan and especially Mr. Tenzin Lamzang for exposing the scam. We public require through investigation on the scam. Director should be immediately removed and replaced. He should be drilled to extract many informations and any linked with any officials. His growing propertry also to be investigated. Shame on such trusted official


  1. […] surprised because the scale of the allegations is huge, even by Indian standards. By now, the government should have summoned their lottery agent and […]

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