What would happen if Gambling was legalized in India?
The laws around gambling in India are a hot topic at this moment in time, possibly more so than ever before. Currently, they are clear, if not a little complex, with regards to offline gambling within the various states of India. The majority of states still to this day follow the Public Gambling Act of 1867; however, some… Read More »
The laws around gambling in India are a hot topic at this moment in time, possibly more so than ever before. Currently, they are clear, if not a little complex, with regards to offline gambling within the various states of India. The majority of states still to this day follow the Public Gambling Act of 1867; however, some states have updated their legal systems with new laws that legislate for gambling within their jurisdiction.
Gambling over the internet, which includes both online casino and sports betting, doesn’t currently feature in any Indian laws, therefore, isn’t considered illegal. As long as the hosting website is situated outside the country and complies with the relevant gambling laws in that host country, they are free to offer their services to Indian people. For example, probably the best-known brand is Bet365 who are well licensed and entirely legal due to having a UK Gambling License. With this, they are able to accept customers from India.
It’s currently up for debate about which direction the Indian Government will choose to go in with regards to legalizing gambling in the future. In this article, we are going to consider some of the affects India would experience if gambling was legalized.
Gambling taxation takes different forms in various countries around the world. In some cases, players are taxed on winnings, while in other countries like the UK, gambling companies are taxed a levy. The UK government accumulated £2.7 billion in gambling duties in 2016 and 2017 alone, which equates to 270 Crores, and have since raised the taxation from 15% to 21%.
This is a huge amount of money for any government to earn, let alone for a country as small as the UK. If we were to apply this to India’s population we’d see tax earnings of 5,641 Crores for the Indian government. Obviously this number wouldn’t be as high due to the popularity of gambling in India being lower, access to relevant technology being reduced and less available payment methods. But what this number does do is to show us the potential for the Indian government and a massive benefit if they were to opt for legalization.
If gambling were legalized, then thousands of new jobs would surely be made available to the Indian people. Offshore gambling sites would possibly look to relocate internally, while there would be a huge demand for tech-based roles; game developers, website developers, customer service teams – the list goes on. That’s not to mention the staff needed for high street betting shops, casinos and all the secondary roles these establishments would create.
There’s no doubt that it would provide a much-needed boost to the economy up and down the country. Not just with regards to direct job opportunities. Advertising, which is currently illegal, could become a huge area of growth.
Take football in the UK for example, half of the 20 English Premier League teams have gambling companies as their main shirt sponsors for the 2019/20 season providing huge income and subsequent growth for these teams.
We could see the same in the IPL; online casino and betting companies would be falling over themselves to sponsor the teams and league given the chance. Cricket is on the rise in terms of popularity across the world and the IPL is truly an international product now. It would provide a huge opportunity for gambling companies to reach their target audiences across multiple markets.
Betting in whichever form, whether it is on sports, casino or lottery is frowned upon by some sections of society. Presumably due to the activity itself, but also due to the social impact it can have on the population. Just like the consumption of alcohol or drugs, gambling can be an addictive activity by its very nature. Certain countries around the world are experiencing this and the drain on public services that accompanies it.
It would be for the government to decide whether the positive economic impacts of legalizing gambling would outweigh the negative social impacts. Although it must be said, it will be hard to determine this before there is a change in the law.
As with any significant potential law change, there will be people who support both sides of the argument. Many will see a socio-economic boost for the country while others will see a negative social impact. It remains to be seen whether the Indian Government will choose to abolish, or at least update the Public Gambling Act of 1867, but one thing is for sure; it would have a huge impact on India.