Santiago Martin: Know All About 'Lottery King' Whose Firm Donated Most Electoral Bonds

Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, a company run by Santiago Martin, also known as “Lottery King” made purchased highest amount of electoral bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore between April 2019 and January 2024
Santiago Martin
Santiago MartinMartin Charitable Trust

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday released the electoral bonds data shared by the State Bank of India (SBI) on its website. The data revealed that political parties encashed bonds worth Rs 12,769 crore in the last five years. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received nearly Rs 6,060.52 crore in total. Since January this year, the BJP has encashed bonds worth Rs 202 crore.

In the list of donors, it was revealed that the highest amount of donations were made by Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, a company run by Santiago Martin, also known as “Lottery King”. The company purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore between April 2019 and January 2024.

Who is Santiago Martin?

Santiago Martin is the founder and chairman of the Martin Group of Companies. He started his journey in the lottery industry at a very young age. Martin is known as the ‘Lottery King’ of India as he reached a leadership position within the business through years of innovation and marketing.

According to Santiago Martin’s charitable trust website, Martin first started working as a labourer in Yangon, Myanmar before stepping into the lottery industry. In 1988, he returned to India and started a lottery business in Tamil Nadu. During this period, his name ‘Lottery King’ and his enterprise became household names as the two-digit lottery craze swept the region.

Future Gaming and Hotel Services, earlier known as Martin Lottery Agencies Ltd, was founded in 1991 by Martin.

Later, he expanded his business in Karnataka and Kerala before moving into other states including Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Punjab. He also started entities in Bhutan and Nepal.

According to the website, the ‘Lottery King’ later diversified his business and forayed into sectors like real estate, textiles, hospitality, and construction.

Martin is the president of the All India Federation of Lottery Trade and Allied Industries – an organisation engaged in uplifting and infusing credibility to the lottery trade in India. Future Gaming Solutions India Pvt Ltd became a member of the World Lottery Association. The company is also expanding into the field of Online Gaming & Casinos and Sports Betting, according to the website. Martin’s company claims a workforce of more than 1,000 employees across 13 states in India where lotteries are legal.


In 2008, Martin was accused of defrauding the Sikkim government of over Rs 4,500 crore. He donated Rs 2 crore to the CPI (M) mouthpiece, Deshabhimani. This happened when CPI (M) was going through an internal tussle between the unit’s two groups – one led by Pinarayi Vijayan and the other one by VS Achuthanandan, according to a report by Indian Express.

Later, he made ties with Dravida Munnetra Kazagham (DMK) in Tamil Nadu. In 2011, he invested Rs 20 crore in a Tamil film whose screenwriter was former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

During the J Jayalalithaa government, he was arrested on land-grabbing charges. The Madras High Court cancelled his detention and he was released on bail.

In 2019, the ED launched a probe against Martin alleging that his company and its sub-distributors had “criminally conspired” to retain unsold lottery tickets in Sikkim illegally and claim top prizes on unsold tickets to gain money to the tune of Rs 910 crore.

In 2022, an investigation was launched against Martin’s company by ED for money laundering, and Rs 409.92 crore worth of its assets were seized. Further, Rs 457 crore worth of assets were seized in 2023. In October last year, the Income Tax raided Martin’s properties in Coimbatore in a parallel investigation.

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