Will Sports Betting Ever Be Legal and Regulated in India?
With the current season of the Indian Premier League taking place, many are once again talking about finally legalizing sports betting in the country. Generally, gambling is illegal in the major parts of India. However, when it comes to online betting, its legality is pretty much in the grey area.
There are no specific laws that prohibit the locals from placing bets online as long as the betting operator is located offshore. What’s really not allowed is for betting operators to operate and offer their services within the country. Operators situated outside the country can only offer their services to the locals if they allow transactions made with Indian Rupees.
For the locals who are interested in betting offshore, it’s important to know the risks of doing so, and this is why reading betwinner review or any betting review sites will help a lot. However, even if locals are free to do this, the Indian government is still losing a lot of money.
What Government Officials Have to Say
Based on what Anurag Thakur, the current Minister of State for Finance, has to say, he is one of the people who see the potential and benefits of regulating the betting industry in the country. He even said that if he had things his way, he’ll immediately make sports betting legal in India.
He also sees how doing so would help fix the alleged problems in match-fixing. “Betting can be an effective tool to curb match-fixing, which is why we need to consider possibilities of legalizing it,” Thakur said.
While this is the case for the Minister of the State of Finance, the new head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of the BCCI has expressed his concerns about it. Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala, a former director-general of police in Gujarat, just recently replaced Ajit Singh as the head of the BCCI’s Anti-Corruption Unit.
Khandwawala said, “Whether the government legalizes betting or not is a different matter but deep inside, I feel like a police officer that betting can lead to match-fixing. The government, so far, has rightly not legalized betting.
“Betting encourages match-fixing so there should not be any change on this. We can make the rules [stricter]. We will work on that. It is a matter of great prestige that cricket is largely free of corruption. Credit should go to the BCCI for that.”
According to him, his primary focus is eliminating corruption in the lower cricket leagues in India. He explained why and said, “Our top players are so well paid that they are miles from the menace of match-fixing. We should feel proud about that.
“Rooting out corruption from smaller events and leagues is a big challenge and we need to put an end to it. We need to ensure there is nothing shady happening at all levels of cricket being played in the country.”
What is India Missing Out On?
The BCCI is known as the most powerful cricket body worldwide. It is responsible for facilitating the cricket matches in India including the biggest and most popular annual cricket league, the IPL. In 2019. BCCI was able to get an income of over 535 million USD.
Surely, the BCCI is bringing the country prestige and revenue, but when it comes to numbers, India could do better. Doha’s International Centre for Sports Security reported that people would spend around 200 million USD on every ODI fixture that the Indian team plays.
When it comes to underground or illegal betting in the country, it is estimated that each year, it is earning up to 45 billion USD. There are also reports that underground betting will grow up to 7 per cent each year and a big chunk of this is from cricket betting.
Around eighty per cent of the underground betting, income is from cricket. The rest are for sports like tennis and basketball. If India is to legalize sports betting, every time the IPL season is on, the government will be looking at millions of tax revenues.
A survey also found that around 40 per cent of Indian internet users love to gamble and this just proves how much sports betting would be a huge hit if the country starts regulating it. This is what’s happening in countries like the United States.
For a long time, the US deemed sports betting as federally illegal. It was only in 2018 when the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 which made sports betting finally federally legal. Since then, 20 states now have legal betting in the US, and more are to follow suit.
India could look at how states in the US are legalizing and regulating local sports betting. It could also take a look at how the UK is doing things as the UK has the biggest legal gambling industry worldwide. The bottom line is that there are already precedents and when done right, India could be successful about this.