With the second phase of the 2021 Indian Premier League (IPL) starting last week, we can only expect that many people in India will once again flock to sportsbooks and casinos to place their bets. India’s sports betting industry continues to grow even during a pandemic. It is expected to do so in the coming years but things may are getting quite a bit tougher than expected.
When it comes to the method of sports betting that is becoming more preferred by Indians, it is going online. Recent statistics released by My Betting showed that there are 140 million Indians who would bet on sports regularly and over 370 million would do so during major sports events like the IPL.
This many people are betting on sports in the country even if online betting, in general, is in the grey area. Today, three states have imposed a ban on online gambling activities which are Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. However, even if this is the case, Telangana holds around 18.7 percent of the online betting sector. This means that the locals here are likely placing their bets on offshore-based online casinos. They can safely do this by checking sites like TheTopBookies – Sports betting sites reviews and Cricket predictions.
So far, there are only three states with legal gambling which are Sikkim, Goa, and Damman. However, people, for sure, won’t travel to these states just so they can place their bet on sports matches. Going online is the easiest way to do this and this is why the online sports betting sector is gaining more popularity.
Generally, online betting is not exactly illegal nor legal in the rest of India. The Public Gaming Act of 1867 is still the basis of regulating gambling activities in the country. Since there was no internet during this time, it fails to mention anything about online real money gaming and betting. Even the Information Technology Act of 2000 which regulated online activities in India has no mention of sports betting.
Will the Indian Government Go for Regulating the Industry?
With the growth of sports betting in India, it’s easy to think that the government would take a look at regulating the industry. However, there are still no recent developments announced about this. There was a report in 2017 that a ministry official who wishes to remain anonymous told Indian Express that the Sports Ministry has already initiated a consultation process with stakeholders that could see a framework of regulation established.
Many are quick to say that the industry should be regulated instead because it could help India’s economy. It is estimated that this sector could generate over $50 billion a year which could give the government as much as $2 billion of annual revenue. Aside from this, gambling companies operating within the country could also create thousands of jobs for the locals.
Karnataka Moves to Ban Online Games of Chance
If there’s anything recent about online gambling regulations, the state of Karnataka has recently announced that they have tabled a bill that will ban the said activities. This could be a setback instead as Karnataka heading towards this could also inspire other states to follow.
The Karnataka government only said that they see a need for this bill because the youth of rural and urban countries in this state have seemed to develop a fondness for online games that are based on chance. The bill has yet to be passed as a law but some experts believe that the said bill could face hurdles as it is unclear how the authorities identify problematic online activities.
The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) is expressive about how they are dismayed about this move. According to them, the bill doesn’t make a clear distinction between games of skill and games of chance, and that it could hurt legit gaming businesses in the country.
AIGF CEO Roland Landers talked about this and said, “These start-ups need the support of the State administration. The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Compliance Act, 2021, has unintentionally prohibited these legitimate businesses. The amendment has failed to make a clear distinction between games of skill and games of chance, and this will have a severe and negative impact on this sunrise sector, which has registered over $1 billion in annual revenue and has been responsible for the creation of many unicorns over the last two years.”
Landers also spoke about this and shared the importance of gaming online. Landers explained, “As people have been home-bound during COVID-19, online skill-based gaming has enabled them to stay connected with peers and friends. This has resulted in 1.5x growth for the sector year-on-year. Today, there are over 350 million online gamers in India, with sizable participation from Karnataka.”
The AIGF is now hoping that the Karnataka government will offer an opportunity for them to represent the industry on matters about the proposed bill’s definition of games of skill.
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