Will Sports Betting soon be Legal in India?

India is one of the latest countries to explore the idea of sports betting legalisation, and it is getting push from a prominent member of the government.

Cricket is the most popular sport in India , and is played almost everywhere.

International has been around much longer than the regulated US industry, but the world is taking notice of what is happening in the US. Countries that had never envisioned legalising  are now giving it a second look in hopes of creating new revenue sources.

is one of them and it is getting a push from the Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur. If he has his way, he will make sports gambling in India legal as soon as possible.

Anurag Thakur believes “betting can be an effective tool to curb match-fixing, which is why we need to consider possibilities of legalising it.”

The potential revenue is one of the biggest reasons this could happen, but legalisation would make sporting events much safer. Betting is happening in India right now, and some in the fields are afraid that match-fixing is becoming all too common.

Anurag Thakur also served as the president of the Board of Cricket Control and he believes that legalising sports betting would help when “monitoring people allegedly involved in match-fixing.”

Match-fixing is a real problem in countries with unregulated sports betting, and has seen plenty of cases in recent years. The most popular sport in India will be protected if the were to change.

Current Gambling Laws in India

It has been reported that the gambling industry in India is worth more than $100 billion each year, despite there being laws against gambling. Games of skill, such as daily fantasy sports, are legal in India, but luck games, such as sports betting, are illegal.

Another survey conducted in India noted that 40% of people who use the internet in India do so to gamble. This would mean that online sports wagering could be a huge hit if the gambling laws were changed.

Tamil Nadu Governor recently promulgated an ordinance that banned online gaming, with fine up to Rs 5000 and imprisonment of up to six months.

Most states in India are opposed to online gambling or betting as there are very few regulations to control the number of players and the investment that can be made in the game.

By banning online games and gambling, Tamil Nadu joined its neighbours Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in banning some forms of online games and gambling. The state’s neighbour on the other side, Karnataka, also has been mulling a law to ban online games and gaming.

The Madras high court is unwilling to change the gambling laws to allow online gambling, but Thakur’s recommendation could make a change. The cricket sport also backs up Thakur’s appeal as they are hoping that their games are more safe and fair.

What Would Drive Indian Sports Betting?

If India could legalise and launch sports gambling, cricket would be the driving force behind the industry.

The most popular sport in India will be protected if the gambling laws were to change.

Thakur pointed out that out of the $60 billion in illegal gambling activity, more than $48 billion of that was being directed at the sport of cricket. These are some huge numbers being wagered in India, and the government would benefit by taxing the action.

Basketball and tennis are two other sports that would bring a lot of interest to the Indian sports betting industry. Sportsbooks would also be able to launch in the country and begin taking bets on other sporting events worldwide. There are plenty of possibilities, but the gambling laws must be changed before anything can be done.

Editing by Rachel Hu