Legalised Betting in India
The Information Technology Act 2000 – This Act regulates cyber activities in India and does not contain any information on gambling or betting. Therefore, this document was left to the courts for interpretation, but they refused to consider the issue. All these factors together contribute to the growth of the Indian sports betting market. The state of Sikkim, for example, is famous for its more liberal stance on gambling and sports betting, with casinos and lotteries operating on its territory. The state of Goa is experiencing a thriving tourist boom due to several floating casinos. As for the other states in the country, they have taken a more conservative approach when it comes to setting up gambling sites. A survey indicates that 40% of all internet users in India enjoy gambling. Although the existing legal framework makes it illegal, nothing can stop Indians, right? The illegal gambling market in India is worth over $100 billion and is growing by 7% every year! The majority of them are sports betting. However, Kautilya`s Arthashastra offers an interesting and practical approach to the game. It highlights the role of a superintendent who must be honest and responsible in order to conduct fair games and in return, win not only a certain percentage of the bets made by the winner, but also the amount charged to the player for providing the license, the means to play, etc. This approach may prove to be a shining model for legalizing betting and gambling in sports, with the government acting as superintendent and winner. Revenue from licenses and regulated sports betting.
Other ancient texts such as Katyayana Smriti and Narad Smriti also deal with the scope of the game, which is supported by appropriate safeguards and regulations. If you are an Indian and a cricket fan (or should I say – if you are an Indian, you are a cricket fan), you would have heard of the match-fixing cases. Integrity in sport is crucial. If betting is legalized, integrity and honesty are seriously threatened. Match-fixing and spot-fixing would increase significantly. Athletes and players are tempted. Creating a framework to control player access a few days before the game would be the best way to mitigate this risk. In the Indian sports world, gambling is generally regarded as a fly in the ointment. The ever-growing popularity of athletes and sports culture has fueled a thriving gaming culture.
Therefore, it is surprising to find that although India`s gambling market is largely illegal, it is estimated to be worth around $60 billion, or 3.5% of India`s gross domestic product, according to a KPMG study. [i] It is important to understand that laws such as the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and several other state laws prohibiting gambling not only drive those involved in gambling or sports betting underground, but are also ineffective at effectively stopping such activities. The American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes argued in his villain theory that instead of eradicating evil, the law could instead lead individuals to engage in it more illegally and cause more harm. [ii] Nowadays, sports betting has become a widely recognized source of entertainment around the world. It has spread to the point where contemporary operators offer bets on the entertainment industry and even political events in addition to betting on various sports. In July 2018, India`s 276th Legal Commission presented its reports proposing that Parliament pass a bill to legalise and regulate sports betting. The Legal Affairs Committee report noted for greater accountability that gaming records should be linked to the Aadhar/PAN card of operators and participants. The report addresses various sports-related concerns, including online gambling, by linking the Aadhar/PAN card gambling records of operators and participants. Finance Minister Anurag Thakur said on Thursday that legalizing betting and integrating it into the formal economy would help curb “godless and corrupt” practices such as match-fixing and generate tax revenue. He made the remarks at an event hosted by ICICI Securities, in response to a proposal by the Economic Advisory Council to part-time Prime Minister (EACPM) and mutual fund industry veteran Nilesh Shah, who has advocated for the legalization of betting in the country.
It can be noted that sports betting is legal in many countries around the world and such cartels are frequently reported, indicating a prevalence of activity. Other popular sports for betting include cricket, tennis and basketball. About 80% of illegal sports betting in India involves cricket. According to research, more than 60% of sports bets placed worldwide are on the black market. This shows that the underground betting market would continue to operate even if India legalized sports betting. One of the oldest instances of gambling dates back to the great Mahabharata epic, where King Yudhisthira lost his kingdom with his brother and wife to his uncle Shakuni in a game of Pachisi. Yudhisthira believed that such a practice was a sin and did not involve any skill, to which Shakuni replied that the game, like any other fight, involves abilities that help the expert defeat the ignorant. The same view is shared by many people who defend or defend the legitimacy of sports betting.
However, India`s Supreme Court cited the epic to discourage gambling, stating that the Mahabharata criticizes gambling by describing the miserable state of the Pandavas who had gambled their kingdom. [iii] The concept of gambling is also mentioned in the Vedas, as well as in ancient texts such as Manusmriti, where it was forbidden. Several factors such as societal beliefs, values, religion, economic status, politics at a given time influence the legislative and legal narrative of a country. The above religious texts have played an important role in defining people`s morality in their daily lives in Indian society. It is important to know these factors in order to understand the evolution of the legislative and judicial approach to gambling and sports betting. Shah said there is a “natural instinct” among Indians to bet and gamble, which can be seen in abundance in places like Las Vegas, Macau and Nepal. “My proposal will be to legalize betting and gambling activities that take place underground. They continue to exist in our society,” he said. In response, Thakur, who was also closely associated with the cricket administration, said countries like Australia and England had legalized betting.
Thousands of millions of revenues come from the activity at the state treasury and are spent on the development of sports or other activities, he said. The growing popularity of illegal sports betting poses a threat to the integrity of sport, not only in India, but worldwide. The revenue lost every year due to the absence of any regulation is too great to be ignored by a developing country like India. The legalization of sports betting can help in many ways and save the integrity of sport in India. An appropriate framework should be developed to avoid such collisions. The rules should also be designed in such a way that a betting company is taxed according to where the customer is located, and not according to where the company is located. Because if this approach is not followed, bets placed abroad by Indian customers would bring no income to the state. With the advancement of technology, more and more people in India have computers and mobile devices, as well as high-speed internet access. In addition, a variety of Indian offshore betting platforms offer various advertising incentives to attract new customers from the country. Ultimately, legal experts believe that digital sports betting sites are not illegal in India due to the lack of a comprehensive regulatory system or official government agencies. Although the legal sports betting market will not replace the illegal market, the Indian government would benefit from the tax revenue by taxing these activities. Take for example the United Kingdom or China, they have used the tax revenues generated by the taxation of betting activities for good causes.
Today, winnings from lotteries and horse racing are taxed at a flat rate of 30%. A betting market with such potential will undoubtedly bring high revenues to the government. However, as far as the government`s intention is concerned, it is not in favour of allowing any kind of support or FDI in betting platforms. Is it their morality that prevents them from doing so? Because morality must not stop the Indians. Indians are betting billions. Although it is perfectly reasonable and acceptable for someone to have a moral or personal objection to gambling. Leagues also tend to benefit because of the increased interest and engagement in games.