‘Satta Matka’ is a form of lottery which has been popular since the pre-independence era. In olden times, the game was conceptually based upon betting on the opening and closing rates of cotton transmitted to Bombay Cotton Exchange from New York Cotton Exchange. The transmission of rates used to take place through teleprinters.
Although illegal in the present day, the modern form of ‘Satta Matka’ is based upon the random selection of a number by the person participating in the lottery. This actually suggests that ‘Satta Matka’ is another form of popular lottery systems that are presently operating in the country. ‘Satta Matka’ is most popular in Maharashtra.
The winner of ‘Satta Matka’ happens to be the person who guesses the correct number and is thereafter rewarded with a pre-determined amount of money. ‘Kalyan and ‘Worli’ are the two most commonly organised ‘Satta Matki’ lotteries.
The ‘Kalyan Matka’ gambling was started by Kalyanji Bhagat in 1962. Bhagat was a Gujarat-based farmer who came up with the idea of starting lotteries that ran for seven days a week.
The ‘New Worli Matka’ was started by a man named Rattan Khatri, two years after ‘Kalyan Matka’ with certain changes in the lottery rules. This lottery ran for five days a week, being shut on the weekends i.e. Saturday and Sunday.
Gambling in India has constitutionally been a state subject with certain states allowing lottery and casinos within their boundaries. These states include Goa, Sikkim, Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and northeastern states barring Tripura.
Satta Matka: Legal angle
The major legal binding that deems gambling like Satta Matka to be illegal is the Public Gambling Act of 1867 which was legislated during British rule. Post partition, Pakistan chose to do away with the law but the Indian government opted to go by the pre-existing law borrowed from the British.
A person held for gambling (first offence) shall be liable to a fine amounting to Rs 100-Rs 300 or rigorous imprisonment for a term, not more than one month. Subsequent offenders are liable to a fine between Rs 200-Rs 500 and rigorous imprisonment for one to six months.