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India Pushes for Legal Sports Betting


International sports betting has been around much longer than the regulated US sports betting industry, but the world is noticing what is happening in the US.

Betting can be an effective tool to curb match-fixing, which is why we need to consider the possibilities of legalizing it.”
— Anurag Thakur

NEW DELHI, NEW DELHI, INDIA, December 4, 2020 / -- International sports betting has been around much longer than the regulated US sports betting industry, but the world is taking notice of what is happening in the US. Countries that had never envisioned legalizing sports betting are now giving it a second look in hopes of creating new revenue sources.

India is one of the latest countries to explore the idea of sports betting, and it is getting a push from a prominent member of the government. If the Minister of State for Finance has his way, he will make sports gambling in India legal as soon as possible.

The potential revenue is one of the biggest reasons this could happen, but legalizing sports wagering in India would make sporting events much safer. Betting is happening in India right now, and some in the sports world are afraid that match-fixing is starting to become all too common.

Anurag Thakur is the current Minister of State for Finance in India, and he also served as the president of the Board of Cricket Control. Thakur believes that legalizing sports betting would help when “monitoring people allegedly involved in match-fixing.”

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

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

Current Indian Gambling Laws

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 percent of people who use the internet in India do so to gamble. This would mean that online sports wagering could be a huge hit in the country if the gambling laws were changed.

Just a few months ago, the Tamil Nadu government was asked to decide on online gambling, but nothing has come from that, so far. The Indian government has been arresting those found to be betting on sports in the country, but nothing official has been announced.

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

Even if online sports betting was not legalized in India, there is still a push for retail betting. India has plenty of other countries to look at for guidance and examples if it eventually changes the gambling laws.

What Sports Would Drive Indian Sports Betting?

If India could legalize and launch sports gambling, cricket would be the driving force behind the industry. It is easily the most popular sport in the country, and it is already driving the country’s illegal gambling scene.

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.

Tennis and basketball are two other sports that would bring a lot of interest to the Indian sports betting industry. India isn’t known for its basketball, but that sport plays a large role in its culture.

Sportsbooks would also be able to launch in India 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.

Gerardo Fonseca
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