TODAY -

Housie Maligned

Seram Neken *



Housie Tickets



"From the age of last-digit lottery to that of Housie draw, it is not a distant travel for the gambling enthusiasts of Imphal city. Bumper draws, mini-bumper draws and mini draws of all sorts attract the gamblers of all hues at Iboyaima Shumang Lila Sanglen, Palace compound. From costly vehicles like Verna, Swift and I20 to two wheelers such as Access and Dio, there are no dearth of house full, second house full, lines, star and quick five prizes. Many organizations and their members have become crazy in conducting Housie draws in the name of Fund Drive."

Housie is meeting the same fate as that of last-digit lottery. In principle, Housie Draw as such is a very noble tool for driving funds for philanthropic and charitable purposes. However, in reality many associations are now maligning the true benefits of Housie draw by utilizing it for personal profit earning. Myriad of registered associations and organizations have cropped up to organize Housie Bumper draws in Imphal for earning money. Many young people have been attracted towards this public gambling, thereby spoiling their properties and families.

Bring a thousand note and take away a new four-wheeler or a two wheeler. Iboyaima Shumang Lila Sanglen hosts you with the Tambola tickets. To some people, Shumang Lila has become synonymous with Housie. Anyone who visits Iboyaima Shumang Lila Sanglen at Palace compound any day can try the Tambola for an unexpected win of huge properties ranging from Verna car to two-wheeler Dio. Housie enthusiasts who used to throng the Gandhi Memorial Hall daily some months back have now changed their destination to Iboyaima Shumang Lila Sanglen. The gambling event which was strongly banned at GM Hall by the security administration has now freely occupied the Sanglen premises without any inhibition. It is amazing that Imphal west administration bans the Housie draw at GM Hall while the Imphal east administration allows it at palace compound.

In the past, Housie draw or Tambola served as a very useful mechanism for earning revenue for social, philanthropic or sports organizations. Local clubs, district level or state level organizations conducted Housie draws for driving funds for particular purposes. Tickets were sold to noble donors with humble requests. The persons who participated in Housie draws were respected and considered as dedicated donors of the organizing agency. In this, the intention of Housie organizer was wholly philanthropic and that of housie participant was charity. Housie was not known as means to earn personal profit. It is not really a business in the real sense of the term. However, nowadays Housie draws have been manipulated as a business by some people. Many Housie enthusiasts of the city are indulging in this business almost regularly without taking care for their daily works and their income.

Years back, last digit lottery had spoiled people of all hues and professions ranging from salaried class to Ricksaw pullers and from school students to vendor women. Lottery fans mortgaged their belongings and even sold out their family properties to book tickets. Now such lottery is no more in Imphal. Later, online tricks such as TVI Express, Unipay, Visarev, Jinex International, Forex achievements and a lot more scams led many to desperation. Now comes the Housie mania. Advertisements for Bumper Housie draws are flooding local newspapers almost daily. Ticket prices range from hundreds to a few thousands while prizes include Verna, Swift, Alto, I20 and I10 cars. Those who join such gambling draws are so mad in this business that they are always seen wherever there is a Housie Draw.

Besides creating traffic congestion, frequent Housie draws at public places invite crimes. That is why the Imphal west district security put a ban on holding Housie games at GM Hall. The myriad of Housie organizers have now shifted their venue to Palace Compound. An organizing body of the draw reportedly spends around rupees twelve thousand for hiring the venue. The Shumang Lila Council charges rupees five thousand as hall hiring fee and the rest is the arrangement expenses which include chairs, light etc. Although the organization of Housie Draws regularly at the Iboyaima Shumang Lila Sanglen benefits the state Shumang Lila Council and the organizing bodies, it surely encourages the gambling culture in the name of fund drive. So many registered social organizations and associations have cropped up nowadays, only to earn money by conducting Housie draws. Their intentions are largely to earn profits for personal use. Majority of Housie draws are not meant for philanthropic purposes.

If Housie is considered as a gambling practice, it is prohibited under the Public Gambling Act of 1867. This is an old law created during British rule. This 145 year old law makes operating a gambling house, assisting in the operation of a gambling house, visiting a gambling house, financing gambling and being in possession of gambling devices a crime. If Housie is considered as a form of lottery, the Central Lotteries (Regulation) Act of 1998 regulates it.

The state government may put a timely check over the burgeoning Housie games in Imphal. Except for specific social purposes, the government may prohibit such public gambling. Many young and old people are increasingly attracted towards such easy earning games. Timely intervention of the concerned agencies is highly required to save the young people from indulging in public gambling which in turn affect their properties and family life. In principle, Housie Draw as such is a very noble tool for effecting social good. However, in reality many associations are maligning the true benefits of Housie draw by utilizing it for personal profit earning method. With the prohibition of conduct of Housie at GM hall by the state security, the infamous Iboyaima Shumang Lila Sanglen at Palace compound has been turned to a Housie Sanglen. Let us ponder over its ill-outcomes.


* Seram Neken (freelance journalist) wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao (English Edition)
This article was posted on February 14, 2012.



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