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Online Betting Legalisation Talks in India Begin
- July 17, 2017 By Oliver Young -
Indian gambling and betting laws are pretty strict, both when it comes to online as well as offline betting. Currently, there are only three states within India where casinos are legal – Goa, Sikkim and Daman. There are fines for those who organise illegal gambling and the fines are more severe for those who engage in online gambling, as opposed to gambling at illegal land-based venues.
There is still a lot of betting and gambling going on in India, but most of it is done illegally and there many lobby groups and activists that urge the Government and local authorities to find a solution that will enable Indians to play casino games and bet on sports legally. Following the intention of the authorities of Sikkim to legalise online gambling, central authorities realised that the benefits from legalising online betting and gambling outweigh the disadvantages.
The Indian Market Is $60 Billion Strong
Earlier this year a legal panel met to discuss the issue of legalising betting and gambling in India and the conclusion was that the country would benefit and the tax revenue could amount to $2.5 billion per year, whereas the market as a whole is worth about $60 billion. With the growing number of internet users in India we can expect the market to grow further in the upcoming years.
It has been reported that, following the recommendations of the Gaming Federation (AIGF) which issued a White Paper urging the Government to legalise sports betting, the Minister of Sports has held several talks and meeting where the possible legal solutions have been discussed. Under current laws, horseracing is the only permitted form of sports betting in India at the moment.
The Gaming Federation suggests that the decision whether land-based sports betting is to be legalised should be left to the state authorities. However, when it comes to online betting, they feel that it would make more sense to pass a law on a central level. The AIGF also supports the creation of a National Gaming Council which would include not only government bodies and representatives of the judiciary, but also the country’s sports federations.
Communication with UK Authorities Will Be Established
The Indian Supreme Court ordered a study on the legalisation of betting last year and a retired judge met with a representative of the AGIF last week. It has been reported that Indian authorities would seek advice from the UK, where online betting has been legal for more than a decade. UK is often pointe as one of the most regulated market, where the approach to online betting is very liberal, and it seems that some Indian lawmakers and other stakeholders are keen on adopting a similar approach.
It has been suggested, though, that it may take up to 2 years before a legalisation bill is introduced to the central legislative bodies. Some of the opponents of betting legalisation have argued that it may lead to an increased number of rigged matches and other fraudulent activities.
On the other hand the European Association on Sports Security has warned India that the status-quo isn’t a solution and that it would be far better for the country to walk the extra mile and legalise online betting.