Sports are booming in India. Soccer, cricket, tennis and golf are very popular today. But what is the situation with betting on sports? There are many contradictions here. In this article, Telecomasia.net talks about the history of sports betting in the country and the current situation of bookmakers.
History of betting in India
Sports betting in this country has a rich history. It gained popularity back in the 15th century. At that time, people mainly bet on the races.
In the 18th century, Europeans introduced cricket to India. Locals appreciated this game, began to create their own teams and place bets on the victory of their favorite teams.
In 1867, the British colonialists banned gambling in India, but wagers continued to be made illegally.
In the 20th century, restrictions increased, but bettors continued their activities, using the services of underground bookmakers.
In 2000, India passed the Information Technology Act. According to this document, betting via the Internet was also prohibited. Moreover, not only companies were fined. An online bettor could receive up to $1,550 or anywhere from 1 month to 5 years in prison (depending on state laws).
But even this could not stop bettors from hiding their IP addresses, using VPNs, so that the authorities simply could not track them down.
In 2011, an amendment was made to the law, which obliged Internet providers to block online bookmakers who accepted bets from Indian bettors.
Bookmaker activity now
Throughout the country, except for the states of Goa, Daman and Sikkim, gambling is now prohibited, both online and offline.
However, neither fines for bookmakers nor the threat of imprisonment for players can stop the development of the sports betting market in India, which today is one of the largest in the world.
The International Center for Sports Safety (ICSS) has found that about 183 million people are betting in this country. 48% of adult men in India bet on sports at least once a month. The total market turnover is $130 billion.
According to experts, the legalization of betting could bring huge revenues to the state. However, now only horse racing bets are officially allowed, which can be made at racetracks in several states. Moreover, more than 80% of bets are placed on cricket, which is officially prohibited.
The most advanced state in the area of gambling is Sikkim, which has begun drafting legislation to regulate gambling. Now there are rules adopted in 2014 for licensing betting companies that operate in the state. At the same time, official bookmakers are obliged to pay huge sums of money to the treasury and renew the activity permit every 2-5 years. Bettors of Sikkim must also give 30% of the winnings to the authorities.