The future of online gambling in India
India’s gaming laws concerning online gaming is rather grey as the Public Gambling Act 1857 prohibits permit gambling operators in India to run gambling houses or casinos with the exception of Goa, Daman and Diu as they are regulated by the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act, 1976.
However, the laws do not explicitly prevent offshore gaming operators from launch online casinos and betting websites in the country. In recent years, there has been a big influx of sports betting and online casinos in India.
Three Reasons Why Online Gaming Is Thriving
The online gambling market in India has grown significantly in the last 18 months and one of the main reasons for this explosive growth is the COVID-19 crisis. India was one of the countries that suffered significantly and went into an extended lockdown. With millions of Indians locked up in their homes, they automatically turned online to relieve their boredom and keep themselves entertained.
iGaming and betting operators in India used this opportunity to introduce attractive casino bonus packages to get new players to register and start playing at their gaming sites. They witnessed an uptick in new player registrations and gross gaming revenue (GGR).
The second reason why online gaming is thriving that because internet access has become cheaper and so has the cost of smartphones. Millions of Indians even in rural India can now access and play their favorite games such as rummy and teen-patti. Indian players are also falling in love with slots, poker and live dealer casino games, which is boosting iGaming revenues.
The third reason why the online gaming market is growing quickly in India is because Gen X and Gen Y are now realizing that they don’t have to work a regular job to make a living. They can make a living playing professional poker or create a second stream of income by playing rummy and other classic table games.
Some States Ban Online Gambling
The sudden spike in online gambling numbers in India has also caused a lot of concern. There have been multiple instances where young Indians have committed suicide due to gambling debts. These cases have been highlighted in the media and anti-gambling opponents have filed public interest litigation (PIL) lawsuits in multiple states.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are two states that have decided to ban all forms of online gambling after PILs were filed in their respective High Courts. The court gave the ruling governments in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh the option to legalize gambling or ban it completely.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh decided to ban online gambling as they felt it would do more harm than good in their states.
Multiple States Consider Legalized Gambling
There are a number of states including Karnataka and Delhi who are considering legalizing online gambling. These states realize that online gambling is flourishing and they are missing out on collecting gaming taxes since there the industry is not regulated. State legislators are debating the pros and cons of legalizing gambling in the near future and it is hard to predict what the outcome will be as there are lots of factors to consider.
Will The Central Government Legalize Gambling?
Legalizing online gambling in India appears to inevitable as the demand for online gambling continues to increase. The Central Government in the past has not appeared very keen to tangle with online gambling legalization at a national level and preferred to let each state make its own decision
However, there has been a push in for online gambling to be legalized at national level. Given the huge impact that COVID-19 has had on the Indian economy, the Indian government might take another look at online gambling legalization.