India's largest lottery operator has announced its intention to join the race to run Britain's national lottery.
Sugal and Damani joins existing UK lottery operator Camelot and Australian group Tattersall's in bidding for the next ten-year licence to run the draw, with the new contract set to run from 2009.
The Mumbai-based firm, which has operated lotteries in India for over 30 years and also has interests in the financial services, tourism and jewellery industries, is emphasising its technical expertise in its bid to run Britain's lottery.
In a statement reported by the Sunday Times, Sugal and Damani chairman Sugalchand Jain confirmed that the group was in the process of finalising its bid.
"While we are one of the top players in every form of lottery trade in India, what sets us apart is total control over technology that makes us confident to bid for the UK national lottery," said Mr Jain, who stressed that his company had already introduced over 17,000 computer-based lottery terminals across Maharashtra, Punjab and West Bengal.
A spokeswoman for the National Lottery Commission confirmed that the Indian firm had expressed an interest in bidding for the UK lottery licence.
"We welcome Sugal and Damani's interest in the competition for the next licence," said the spokeswoman.
"The commission has worked hard to create a level playing field for the competition and the interest from around the world shows we have achieved this," she added.
Virgin boss, Sir Richard Branson, who has tried to secure Britain's lottery licence twice before, announced last week that he would not be entering the latest bidding round, which closes on December 15th.
The successful bidder is expected to be announced in the spring.
Since Britain's national lottery began, in November 1994, it has raised £18.5 billion for good causes and paid out some £26 billion in prize money.