Is Online Sports Betting Coming to India?
In what could be good news for Indian sports fans, the legalisation and regulation of online sports betting has been brought up for discussion by the country’s Sports Ministry.
Reports emerged this week that various government administrations have been approached with proposals and some informal consultations have taken place. While it is very early days, it is thought that supporters of the idea are looking to the United Kingdom as a well-legislated market.
An unnamed ministry official told local media that they think the UK has one of the most effective gambling frameworks and that they hope to produce something similar in India.
Injeti Srinivas, India’s sports secretary, was in England this week to discuss the terms of, and potentially sign, a Memorandum of Understanding. It is thought that online sports betting will be a key issue in the memorandum.
At present only betting on horseracing is legal in India and it is taxed at 28% per year. So far there has been no information about the tax rate for online sports betting services.
A report from India’s International Centre for Sports Security estimated that the country’s illegal sports betting market is worth $150 billion. Most of that money is thought to come from local bookmakers and offshore betting sites.
While there are many supporters of legalised online sports betting, there is also sure to be opposition. Issues of match-fixing and sports’ integrity are likely to be raised by opponents to the practise.
However, those in support of sports betting have some strong backers such as the ex-Chief Justice R M Lodha who wrote in a report to the Supreme Court that the economy and sports would benefit from it.