The term "Satta" refers to "betting" in Hindi, while "Matka" means an earthen pot used to draw numbers. The game was initially played by placing bets on the opening and closing rates of cotton transmitted from the New York Cotton Exchange to the Bombay Cotton Exchange. These rates were then written on pieces of paper and put into the Matka. Later on, as the game evolved, it transformed into a lottery-style game involving the use of playing cards.