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Videocon takes up the online gamble

Mumbai, Dec. 18: A dealership for scooters, consumer electronics, white goods, real estate, leasing, petroleum and a full-fledged news channel later, the Dhoots of Videocon have hit the jackpot — literally.

The group today made its debut on the online lottery scene, casting its dice in an arena where Goyals of Zee and the Modis have already made their mark by virtue of being the first movers.

Videocon has bagged a licence from Arunachal Pradesh for the state’s online lottery business and is in the process of bidding for licences from other states, the group said.

Its first lottery product will be out in the next three months. The group said in a statement the technology for the lottery would be provided by European technology provider WIN Systems, Spain, which has an alliance with Motorola.

A new company with group chairman Venugopal N. Dhoot at the helm will be set up for the online lottery business.

The Videocon group made it big as a dealer for Bajaj Auto’s scooters. At that time, buying a scooter required a huge amount of patience as there was a long waiting period, unless you were a non-resident Indian with foreign exchange which enabled you to jump the queue.

Commenting on Videocon’s foray into the online lottery business, V. N. Dhoot said, “Videocon has a reputation of creating credible brands in India and we now aim to create a trustworthy and credible brand in the lottery business”.

“We will earmark a certain percentage of profits generated through this business for a charity working in the field of education, sports and rural development,” he added.

Videocon initially plans to deploy about 4,000 terminals across the country for the project and increase their number to 8,000 terminals by the end of its first year of operations, with an expected turnover of around Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 1,200 crore.

With the states facing an acute financial crunch and scouting for new means to generate income, the online lottery fad has caught on, filling treasuries of states like Sikkim, Karnataka and Maharashtra in its wake.

Videocon said it will offer active games like Lotto and Digit through this network after it is customised to meet the demands of the Indian consumer.

To take part in the lottery, all the customer has to do is to buy a lottery ticket from any designated retailer through the secured network of the company. The customer can buy a ticket with any number of his choice that gets registered in the central server immediately after the transaction.

The winner can encash the prize from any of the retailers up to a value of Rs 5000, which is validated by and recorded in the system, thereby ensuring that no double payment is made to the customer.

The Videocon group claims to be the leader in the consumer electronics and white goods business with over 10 million consumers. The company has nearly 7,000 dealers, whom analysts say would be tapped for the new venture. Videocon International’s sales have grown 21.33 per cent since 1994-95 to Rs 2,422.44 crore.

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