The Supreme Court of India is considering whether sports betting and gambling could be allowed legally in India, reports the Times of India. Currently, online betting and gambling is outlawed and can attract a fine and imprisonment for individuals running a gambling house.
However, the state of Sikkim has issued online gambling licences in 2010 but only but over an intranet, blocking access from the rest of India. The state government of Sikkim has authorized four gaming and lottery licenses – to Sugal & Damani Group, Future Gaming Group and Essel Group’s Playwin and Golden Gaming. Note that only three states allow casinos in India – Goa, Daman and Sikkim.
The SC said that it will take up the public interest litigation as part of reforms in Cricket and petitioners argued that the legalized betting and gambling in sports would curb match-fixing and generate revenue for the government. Currently, there are a number of websites offer bets on Cricket matches.
The BBC points out that there even though there are no online betting operators based out of India, a lot people have registered accounts with offshore firms and operators are using this to set up offshore betting companies.
How big is betting in India: The Federation of Indian Chambers and Commerce and Industry (FICCI) estimates the total turnover of the betting market at Rs 300,000 crores ($60bn). If the government caps the 20% of the profits generated by gambling, the government stands to gain Rs 12,000- Rs 19,000 crore.
How to regulate in India: International Research Association of Computer Science and Technology (IRACST) had published a paper on how sports betting could be legalized in India. It had recommended a national regulatory body which could regulate disputes. This body would have the power to void a particular bet and have power and prosecute individuals making illegal bets. It will also devise guidelines and dispense information to the public about betting including listing events on which bets can be placed. The regulator will have powers of entry and inspection into operator’s premises and online networks and to have cooperation from operators.