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Future Gaming, Largest Electoral Bonds Donor, Under Agencies’ lens

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Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited, a significant participant in the electoral bonds scheme, has been the subject of scrutiny by various agencies, including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and the Income Tax department for an extended period.

Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited

Headed by Santiago Martin, also known as the “lottery king,” the company has purchased bonds worth ₹1,368 crore between October 2020 and January this year, as per the 337-page data of donors released by the Election Commission (EC) recently.


Formerly known as Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd, Future Gaming initially operated in Tamil Nadu’s lottery ticket printing and sales sector, later expanding its operations to Kerala, Karnataka, and the northeastern regions of India.

Who is Santiago Martin?

The website of Santiago Martin’s charitable trust says he started his career as a labourer in Myanmar’s Yangon. In 1988, he returned to India and started a lottery business in Tamil Nadu. He later expanded the business in Karnataka and Kerala before moving into the northeast.7 hours ago

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Who is owner of future gaming?

Future Gaming and Hotel Services is the top donor, giving around Rs 1,368 crore to political parties between April 12, 2019 and January 24, 2024. Santiago Martin, the company’s 59-year-old owner and a so-called ‘Lottery King’, is a controversial man with ties to political parties.

According to its website, Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited (formerly Martin Lottery Agencies Limited) is a leading entity in India’s lottery industry, boasting a turnover exceeding $2 billion.

Electoral bonds data

A sister concern, Future Gaming Solutions India Private Limited, based in Coimbatore, served as the distributor for paper lotteries organized by the Sikkim government.

The CBI commenced investigations into multiple cases related to Sikkim lotteries in 2011, focusing on alleged illegal profits amounting to ₹910 crore between April 2009 and August 2010, purportedly made by Martin and associates by defrauding the state government.

In 2019, based on seven charge sheets filed by the CBI, the ED initiated a money laundering probe against Future Gaming and Martin regarding the Sikkim lottery case.

The ED’s investigation revealed an agreement between Martin and officials in Sikkim, allegedly in violation of existing regulations, enabling them to effectively control the Sikkim State Lottery and evade remittances to the government. Additionally, they were accused of inflating prize claims on lottery tickets. Properties valued at ₹119 crore, including Martin’s flats and plots, were attached by the ED in July 2019.

In May 2019, the Income Tax department conducted raids on approximately 70 premises associated with Martin, his associates, and affiliated companies, citing suspected tax evasion.

What is future gaming and hotel services PR?

Future Gaming and Hotel Services — a little-known gaming company based in Coimbatore — has emerged as the leading contributor of electoral bonds, according to data released by the Election Commission of India in compliance with a Supreme Court directive.

In April 2022, the ED asserted that Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, along with its sub-distributors and area-distributors, engaged in criminal conspiracy by unlawfully withholding unsold lottery tickets and claiming top prizes on such tickets until 2017, during the pre-GST period.

The ED further alleged that proceeds from lottery ticket sales were diverted illicitly for gifts and incentives by modifying the prize structure without approval from state governments.

Subsequent to fresh searches conducted in May 2023, the ED has thus far attached properties valued at ₹457 crore linked to Martin.

An official clarified that the ongoing investigations by the CBI, ED, and IT department are unrelated to the company’s bond purchases, emphasizing that the company has long been under scrutiny for irregularities in its lottery operations.

Here are 10 points on Future Gaming

Future Gaming was found by Lottery King of India Santiago Martin in 1991.

Santiago Martin had moved most of his business to Karnataka and Kerala after then Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha had banned lottery in the state in 2003.

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Santiago Martin’s Future Gaming operated under a subsidiary in south India, as Martin Karnataka, and in the north-east, it opened Martin Sikkim Lottery. Martin was stated to be the master distributor of Sikkim lotteries.

Future Gaming claims a workforce of over 1,000 employees across 13 states where lotteries are legal, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, and West Bengal. In Nagaland and Sikkim, Future is the sole distributor of the popular ‘Dear Lottery’.

Santiago Martin was also the Consul General for Liberia, where he also set up a lottery industry, the Future Gaming website states.

Santiago Martin is also the President of the All India Federation of Lottery Trade and Allied Industries, a lobby of lottery distributors, stockists and agents.

However, Future Gaming has had several legal run-ins. In 2022, Enforcement Directorate attached assets of lottery company Future Gaming & Hotel Services Private Limited and its various sub-distributors worth over ₹409 crore in a money laundering case

Santiago Martin net worth

The ED had then said that the sale proceeds of lottery tickets have been illegally diverted towards gifts and incentives, and the company illegally claimed around ₹400 crore between 2014 and 2017.

On 9 March 2024, ED conducted searches in the premises of Aadhav Arjun, son-in-law of ‘lottery king’ Santiago Martin in Tamil Nadu as part of a money laundering investigation linked to probe alleged illegal sand mining in the state

Santiago Martin has been probed by the ED as part of another money laundering case that stems from a CBI case against him and others for alleged offences relating to the sale of lotteries of the Sikkim government.

What is Future Gaming?

Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited has topped the donor list with a purchase ₹1,368 crore rupees worth electoral bonds. Run by Santiago Martin, who is also popularly known as the “Lottery King”, Future Gaming claims to have business interests in hospitality, healthcare, education and real estate. The company, which was previously known as Martin Lottery Agencies, is also known as a significant contributor to lottery sales in Sikkim, Kerala, and West Bengal, the states which still allow the lottery business.

Santiago Martin, the “Lottery King”

Santiago Martin is the founder & Chairman of the Martin Group of Companies which owns Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited. The website of his chartiable trust, The Martin Fondation, states “The story of his life is one that epitomizes the success of a man who built nothing, into an empire.” It also adds that he had his first brush with the lottery business at the age of 13 years, and later attained “a position of leadership” in lottery trade. The website claims that Martin is now regarded as the “Lottery King” of India.

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