The online betting market in India is booming. Millions of new players are joining the ranks of online betting sites every single month, and the government of India is turning a blind eye to it.
It’s no wonder that the Indian government is passive: the laws surrounding online betting in India are vague and unclear. Even the most astute legal scholar could be forgiven for asking himself: is online betting legal in India?
But the ignorance of the Indian government towards the issue of online betting means that players and operators in the industry have created their own rules.
The online betting market is currently an underground economy where various international betting sites are operating without legal status or guidelines and collecting profits without taxation. Is this really what we want for India, or is there a better solution?
India as a regulated online betting market
With the right amount of political motivation, India could become a regulated online betting market.
There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about what it means to regulate online betting.
Here’s what a regulated market does and does not do:
A regulated market does not prohibit online betting. It won’t make online betting go away, and it won’t magically convince people to stop betting online.
However, it will help the government control online betting. It will set certain restrictions as to who can and cannot participate in online betting; both when it comes to betting operators and players.
Regulations will bring transparency to an industry shrouded in darkness
Right now, the government of India doesn’t know how many people are engaged in online betting on a regular basis. Without a regulatory body to keep track, we simply have no way of knowing this figure.
The only thing we know is that the number of online betting players in India is enormous. We know this because the number of people searching for betting related search terms on Google is publicly available.
For example, there are around 1.5 million people in India who search for “Bet365” (one of the biggest betting sites in the world) every single month.
And let’s not even mention all the other betting sites and betting related search terms that people could be using.
So by looking at these figures we can deduce that there are millions of people in India who are actively engaged in online betting every single month.
That is a huge amount of people. And the government has no way of keeping track of these players to ensure that they are betting responsibly or imposing taxes on the betting operators.
The solution is to introduce a set of regulations and to transform India into a so-called “regulated market”,
Similar regulations have been imposed in other countries and this has had a positive impact on their respective economies, as well as the populations as a whole.
Notable examples include: the UK Gambling Commission, the Malta Gambling Authority and the Betting Control & Licensing Board of Kenya.
As you can see, there is a wide range of countries that have introduced regulations to online betting: why can’t India do the same and reap the amazing benefits?
Consulting the experts
We reached out to Indian betting expert Tomesh, the editor at one of India’s largest online betting informational sites, MyBetting.in, to ask him his opinion about online betting regulations.
What are the greatest benefits of regulating the online betting industry?
“If we regulate online betting providers it will bring an entire industry which is currently shrouded in confusion into the light.”
“Some of the benefits we will see are:
- Thousands of new jobs created in both the private and public sectors: the betting operators need high-skilled corporate staff, and the Indian gambling authority would need a body of regulatory staff.
- A new stream of tax revenue for the government: the government could tax the gambling revenue from licensed betting operators at the standard business tax rate of 30%. This money could be used to fund public projects such as roads, schools and hospitals.
- Ability to encourage responsible gambling: It is inevitable that some players become problem gamblers. A better regulatory environment would allow the government to keep track of these people and give them the help they need to escape addiction.”
Are there any downsides to online betting regulations?
“The biggest potential downside is that you could see more people engage in online betting when the legal situation becomes more clear and transparent.
This can be curbed by imposing bans on online betting advertisements on TV and in public spaces.
When done correctly, imposing regulations on the online betting industry has very few downsides.
We know this because we can look and learn from what they have done in other parts of the world. Regulating the online betting industry has been an unequivocal success story in countries all over Europe and Asia.”
According to Tomesh, the benefits of having a regulated betting market – as opposed to our currently fragmented and complicated legal situation – seem to outweigh any disadvantages.
Imposing regulations are beneficial for all parties: The government, the operators and most importantly — the players.