There is always going to be a certain amount of debate when it comes to the legality of sports betting in India. Technically, there is no law that prohibits the use of online sportsbooks to place a bet.
This is because the only legislation which addresses gambling directly is the Public Gambling Act (1867). Of course, this act was introduced well before the Internet was invented, so there is no mention of online betting or gambling. This means that although land-based gambling is only legal in three states, the situation with online gambling is less clear.
Offshore betting companies addressing appetite for betting
As there are no laws in place nationally which specifically prohibit individuals from placing a bet online, the practice is popular across the country. Facilities such as Comeon sportsbook give sports enthusiasts the opportunity to make their viewing experience more exciting, by placing a bet on the result. There is also the opportunity to bet on other aspects of an event such as who scores the most runs or goals.
The event which attracts the largest amount of betting interest in India is the IPL. The Twenty20 tournament is the most successful of its type in the world. A total of 462 million viewers watched coverage of the matches, provided by Star India, in 2019. It’s hardly surprising that the IPL attracts so much betting interest with the popularity of that magnitude.
Of course, it’s not just the IPL which features in overseas sportsbooks. Other sports, such as football and horse racing, also attract wagers. However, in India, cricket is definitely the sport that people are most likely to bet on.
The future for sports betting in India
It’s taking a significant amount of time for India to catch up with other countries when it comes to the regulation of online gambling. Right now, it’s something of a grey area. It’s certainly difficult to prevent online sports betting in the country, given the amount of people who participate and the fact that there are no specific laws directed at the activity.
It remains to be seen whether other states in the country will follow Sikkim and its actions. The state issued a memorandum which is known as the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules, 2009. This memorandum captures the rules and regulations surrounding online gambling in the state.
The objective of the memorandum is to make it legal for people to bet on permitted games and activities online, as long as the provider has the relevant license in place. Betting on sports such as cricket, football, tennis and horse racing is covered by the memorandum as is playing casino games.
Sikkim is one of the most liberal states in India when it comes to online gambling. So, other states may not follow suit. It seems that the introduction of any regulation will take a lot more time. Until then, it’s highly likely that the situation will remain as it is with bets continuing to be placed on events such as the IPL.
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