Playwin Lottery, which was operated by Pan India Network and licensed by the government of Sikkim, used to provide online and retail lottery games to players across India. However, the company was forced to close in 2019 after it struggled to absorb a rise in taxes and subsequently defaulted on its debts.
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What happened to Playwin?
The company’s troubles began in 2014, when the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of the Andhra Pradesh police sought a ban on the Playwin website for allegedly selling online lotteries banned in the state. Playwin was able to continue its online operations elsewhere in India.
In 2017, the Indian lottery industry suffered a major setback. In June of that year, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council ordered a dual tax rate for lottery tickets throughout the country. Under the dual tax rate, lotteries operated by private distributors came under the highest tax bracket of 28 percent. Several serious protests were made against the dual tax, but to no avail.
Many sellers in the industry had to close down their businesses completely due to the costs incurred from the higher taxes. To ensure Playwin’s survival, Pan India Network Ltd increased the price of its lottery tickets by about 30%. This further hampered their revenue.
Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process Filed
On 30th April 2019, Sagar E Shop Private Limited filed a petition against Pan India Network Limited, alleging that the company committed default in making payment to the extent of Rs. 1,60,39,093/- under Section 7 of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
On 1st September 2018, Pan India Network Limited had entered into a loan agreement with Sagar E Shop Private Limited, where it requested a loan to the extent of Rs. 2,25,00,000/- at an interest rate of 18% p.a., with an obligation to repay by 30th April, 2019. Pan India Network Limited availed the credit facilities but failed to repay the outstanding dues. Several letters and reminders were sent to Pan India Network Limited, which they failed to honour, hence the petition.
The ledger account shown by Sagar E Shop Private Limited clearly showed that the amount claimed in the petition was in consonance with the ledger account. After hearing both sides, the learned counsel appearing for the Corporate Debtor candidly admitted the liability as well as default and expressed no objection to admission of the petition.
Pan India Network Limited was forced to cease Playwin’s operations, and as a result lottery draws came to an end immediately. The company posted a message on its website and social media in October 2019, stating: “Due to technical issues our draws are not configured for selling. We will update you soon.”
Some Playwin games, such as Thursday Super Lotto, Saturday Super Lotto and Tuesday Thunderball, had already been brought to a halt in June and July 2019. A notice on the Playwin website at that time said that those games were temporarily suspended and the expectation was that they would be relaunched later in the year. However, the lotteries did not return before Playwin’s closure, and no games have taken place since then.
It is still possible to play online lotteries in India after Playwin’s closure. Games such as Lotto India and Jaldi 3 are available online – go to the Lottery Tickets page to get your entries.