At the moment, China has the largest population in the world with 1.412 billion people. However, analysts believe this will change in 2023 as India with a current population of 1.408 billion will overtake them. With online gambling laws in a grey area, gambling experts believe that India is the next great gambling market. Thus, here is an Outlook of Online Gambling in India and what its future holds for it.
According to gambling software experts, India’s online gaming industry will triple in size over the next four years. A large part of it is due to India’s large population and because mobile gaming in India is on the rise.
In fact, as of November 2022, India has over 1.2 billion mobile users. Thus, it makes sense that more gamblers are now placing their bets online. In addition, according to recent statistics, 40% of Indian adults have made at least 1 bet online in their lifetime.
For gambling investors or anything thinking about opening a sportsbook, India is a prime location to expand. This is because of its huge population and also because locals are still free to place their bets offshore.
Is Gambling Online Legal in India?
First off is online sports betting or casino gambling legal in India? The truth is that it remains in a gray are in most of India. This is because while they do have a gambling law in place, it does not mention online betting. The reason is because the Public Gaming Act was made in 1867, many years before the inception of the internet.
Therefore, for all practical purposes, Indians are able to bet sports online and play online casino games. At the moment, only 3 states have actual gaming laws and licenses available. Out of those three, Sikkim and Meghalaya have licensing authority for online casino gaming and sports betting. However, the licensing is not for residents of their states. Furthermore, only Sikkim has a licensing regime for games of skills and chance.
On the other hand, while Nagaland has a licensing authority for online games, it is only for games of skill.
In 2021, an attempt was made by the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to ban on online gaming activities. However, the Indian high court said amendments prohibiting online gaming was unconstitutional.
The reason behind it is because of the definition of online games of skill and gambling. Therefore, banning it would violate Article 14 of the Constitution on the ground of “manifest arbitrariness”.
The Future of Online Gambling in India
At the moment, the Indian legislature is having a difficult time deciding what constitutes gambling. The first issue is deciding what is and what is not gambling. The second issue is whether the country will embrace it or ban it.
At the moment, the Ministry of Electronics and IT is working on a draft for online gambling regulations. According to the first draft, the regulations are about resolving problematic gambling behaviors amongst minors. Other then that, it also deals with the responsibilities of the regulators. However, there is nothing in it that would outright ban online gambling in India.
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