Oceanic Games private online lottery introduced in Lanka
A private company with foreign connections has been given a licence to operate an online lottery including thousands of e-Games terminals from next month – a move that could draw young people, including schoolchildren into gaming. The licence has been given to Oceanic Games (Private) Limited which will operate in collaboration with eGame Solutions, a Hong Kong-based company which markets itself as a global lottery provider.
Apart from the Government-owned Development Lotteries Board (DLB) and National Lotteries Board (NLB) which operate here, Oceanic Games (Private) Limited is the only private concern that has been given a licence to operate in Sri Lanka. Cabinet approval has been granted for the operation of the online lottery which will operate under the brand name Ogames and will make available to the Sri Lankan public games such as lotto, one of the most popular lottery games in the world.
A senior Government source who wished to remain anonymous expressed fears that with lottery operation being privatised, the NLB and the DLB would be hit. Last year the NLB made a profit of more than Rs. 14.5 billion and this year the profit is expected to increase to around Rs. 20 billion.He also said the online lottery in Sri Lanka would be detrimental as it would attract young people, including schoolchildren.
The Sunday Times learns that Oceanic Games is backed by a Malaysian owned company which is incorporated in Sri Lanka and operates as a leading stockbroker here. It has been alleged that this Malaysian company is attempting to acquire 100 perches of land in Colombo to operate from and is using Oceanic Games as a front company to avoid paying the taxes levied on foreign owned companies on lease of land.
Meanwhile eGame Solutions in a statement on its official website said that in the initial phase of the project, it would be targeting 3,000 points of sales to equip with eGame lottery terminals. “We are glad to kick start this fun and meaningful lottery to the Sri Lanka market. I believe this project with Oceanic will be appealing to the Sri Lanka market given our scalable modular support for gaming operations. After the official launch in Quarter One (Q1,) we will expand our scale of operations and lottery profile to a wider range of games and channels,” the website quotes eGame Solutions Chief Executive Officer Gary Cheung as saying.
It added that Oceanic would provide funding support to the local Mahapola Higher Education Scholarship Trust Fund (MHESTF) to help needy local youths to further their education.