Published On : Tue, Jun 15th, 2021

Why India Should Look into Regulating Online Gambling Throughout the Country

The online gambling industry is becoming bigger as more countries are starting to become welcoming to this activity. India, being one of the countries with the most population and having a rich background in gambling, makes the country a good candidate for gambling companies to penetrate. However, about online gambling, India is still somehow in the grey area.

Despite the unclarity of the legalization of different forms of gambling in India, the local industry here is thriving and is even getting bigger each year. In 2020, the Indian gambling market was estimated to have reached a value of over 90 billion Indian Rupees. This number is expected to grow more too.

However, based on the reports released regarding this, a huge portion of the said market value is made offshore and underground. Many locals always check certain offshore casinos reviews, such as 10CRIC review with pros and cons, if they want to place their bets online. Offshore online casinos and bookies remain the benefactors of India’s love for gambling since local casinos and bookies are only available in certain states. 

Legal or Illegal?

Based on the Indian Constitution, all gambling activities shall be regulated at the state level. This means that each state in the country can decide on whether online gambling should be deemed legal and regulated. With that, they can also have their own sets of regulations that the locals and gambling operators should follow.

However, there is still the Public Gaming Act of 1887 that is considered until today. According to this, the operations of Indian casinos, assisting and visiting gambling venues can be considered illegal. What’s cloudy about this is that the act states the following:

“Nothing in this Act shall apply to any game of mere skill, as distinguished from a game of chance or a game of chance and skill combined unless it is carried on in a common gaming house.”

And so, games of chances are the ones that are considered illegal while the games of skills aren’t. This is what places online gambling, in general, in the grey area. Most forms of gambling activities aren’t just games of chances anymore. Popular Indian real money games online like Andar Bahar and Teen Patti are also played with a certain set of skills.

The law also doesn’t have anything specific to say about online casinos as it’s already outdated. What many are doing is that they just go online to play real money games or wager on sports. Generally, offshore online casinos are allowed to offer their services in most places in the country as long as they have Indian Rupees as part of the payment options. So far, only the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have imposed a ban on any online gambling activities within their territories.

Why Should It Be Regulated?

A simple and direct answer to this question is because online gambling is getting bigger in the country. With this happening, there are plenty of things to consider including the potential tax revenue that the country is missing out on and, and of course, the risks involved.

A growing gambling market also has risks and this is not a secret. Gambling will always pose risks and this is why government must look after its people. The only way to do this is to have strict regulations in place.

Take for example the United Kingdom which has one of the biggest online gambling markets worldwide. The UK allows most forms of gambling – online or not. The government has been regulating the industry to ensure that it will still be able to thrive without causing much harm to the locals.

A governing body was appointed to see through the UK gambling activities and it’s called the UK Gambling Commission. This committee is responsible for imposing regulations and ensuring that gambling companies follow them. They see to it that the existence of the local gambling industry won’t cause too much harm. They do this by protecting minors and lessening the risks of the consumers from drowning in debts.

If India decides to finally regulate online gambling in the country, a committee will have to be formed to also see to also regulate the industry. Well, India can just skip all of this and leave things as it is but it’s just really a shame to miss out on the economical benefits of regulating the industry. It could bring in millions or even billions of tax revenues and it could also create jobs for the Indians. 

Many are hopeful that online gambling will eventually no longer be in the grey area in terms of legislation in the country. However, with everything that’s happening, we still might not see the industry being regulated any time soon.