India is one of the most populated countries worldwide and this is why many industries and businesses are trying their best to penetrate the country. One of these industries is gambling and this is becoming more and more prominent in the country.
Indians love to gamble. Many enjoy card games like teen Patti and poker and many would also bet on today’s cricket match and especially during the Indian Premier League season. Many Bollywood celebrities are also known for their love for gambling like Aamir Khan, Jeetendra, and Ashkay Kumar.
With all that, one may think that India regulates gambling activities throughout the country like how things are done in the United Kingdom. However, this isn’t exactly the case as gambling is only completely legal in certain parts of the country.
Current Gambling Regulations in India
While many Indians are fans of gambling, there are only three states where it is legal and regulated. Currently, land casinos in the country are located in Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. In Sikkim are two casinos called Casino Sikkim and Casino Mahjong. Goa has 10 casinos including Casino Deltin Royale, Casino Deltin Jaqk, and Casino Pride.
Now, even if gambling is only legal in three states, it doesn’t mean that all gamblers are traveling to these places to place their bets. The internet has given everyone in the country easy access to casinos and sportsbooks.
Online gambling isn’t exactly legal nor illegal in India. What’s illegal is the operations of online casinos outside the three states with legal gambling. With that, many of the locals only really rely on offshore casinos like 22bet, Betway, and many others. So far, only Maharashtra has banned online gambling as it is an offense under the Bombay Wager Act.
Activities on the internet are regulated with the Information Technology Act 2000. There is no mention of any gambling activities in this act and this is why it’s completely fine for the locals to place their bets online.
Why is India Still Missing Out on the Benefits of Gambling?
Goa casinos can generate tax revenue of over 100 crores each year. It would likely go up to 1 billion US dollars in the future. This is just one state and India can surely do better if it starts to regulate online casinos as well.
Last year, Maple Capital Advisors reported that India’s gaming industry is valued at over 930 million US dollars and this is still expected to grow in the coming years. However, since many of the locals are placing their bets on offshore casinos, other countries are benefitting more from their bets.
Casinos-India estimates that if the government continues to charge 30 percent tax on casino winnings if it starts to regulate the local operations of online casinos, India can get a revenue of around 393 million US dollars this year. By 2024, the revenue should be able to reach over 1 billion US dollars.
This is how much the country is missing out on by not yet regulating or allowing local online casinos to take bets from the locals. Aside from offshore casinos, the black market is also still staying strong when it comes to this. Many locals would still place their bets illegally and that’s also revenue loss for the country.
Aside from online gambling tax revenues, allowing businesses to run online casinos locally can also open employment opportunities. It is estimated that around 100,000 jobs can be created if the government regulates gambling throughout the country.
Matters to Consider Before Legislation
Well, it is still not likely that India will be regulating online casinos any time soon. It will be quite a long process to do this and even persuading. It’s not like India never tried because, in 2010, Sikkim planned to offer online gambling licenses for businesses. However, it just didn’t happen. For now, Sikkim only permits online lottery.
Regulations take a long time to establish as there will be a lot of things to consider including consumer protection, licensing, and streamlined revenue collection.
The United Kingdom has one of the biggest online gambling markets out there and this is because the country allows most forms of gambling – online or not. However, even if online casinos are popular in the UK, the government is always pushing for a safe gambling environment. This is why they have the UK Gambling Commission to ensure that the industry is highly regulated.
Definitely, India can take so much from the UK in terms of gambling regulations, but we’re still a long way from that. Even if the government starts to push for legislation this year, local online casinos operating throughout the country will most likely only be able to go live at least a year or more from now.