Manama: A Bahraini municipal council yesterday imposed a ban on the sale of lottery tickets, saying that it was a form of disguised gambling.

The head of the Muharraq Municipal Council, Mohammad Hamada, said that the ban was decided after many residents complained about the proliferation of the illegal trade on the island.

"Ostensibly, the sale of the lottery tickets is a transaction between the seller and the buyer. But in fact, it is an action that clashes with the precepts of Islam that ban taking advantage of people by making them believe that they will be making money or winning fabulous prizes simply by drawing the right number," Hamada said in a statement sent to the press.

The mayor, who was elected last December at the head of Bahrain's second largest city, said that there would be zero tolerance towards the people plying the illegal trade.

"We will make sure that it is eradicated from Muharraq where people shun all activities that are suspicious or socially unacceptable," he said.

Expatriates, mainly from the subcontinent, can be seen in several areas in Manama, the capital, selling lottery tickets to by-passers amid promises of quick fortunes.

The decision to scrap the sale of lottery tickets comes days after tourism authorities have imposed a ban on Arabic music halls and bars in several hotels.