India was forecasted to dethrone the United Kingdom as the betting king. The Asian nation is heralded as a silent player showing nothing but taking over the industry.
Although gambling is considered a pastime activity in most parts of the world, it is different in India. The topic is highly complex as they do it as a block: family, friends, colleagues, in festivals, and around cities. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic changed how the world runs issues; the mandatory lockdown caused a surge in the number of gamblers.
India’s betting, which includes online casinos, the population is over a 300million. With more recruits every day, it was predicted that it will take over the gambling market in the world by a landslide. But the country’s laws obstruct.
In India, gambling is a state subject, and only states are entitled to formulate laws for gambling activities within their respective territories. Many states have imposed restrictions for users when it comes to the amount of time they can spend on video games. The most recent situation came from India’s central state in Madhya Pradesh when lawmakers revealed a new policy following the alleged suicide of a kid.
Daman, Goa, and Sikkim allow playing casinos and have land-based casinos where people can play their favourite games. However, the law with online casinos is unclear. The Information Technology Act 2000 is about regulating cyber activities, but it did not talk about online casinos in particular.
There’s also the Public Gambling Act of 1867 that prohibits running a public gambling establishment. Even if that may cover online casinos, it would still only fall under those operating in the country. So, it may not include online casinos run from other countries like top au online casino sites. As long as you are not in the states that have a total gambling ban, you can play in overseas online casinos that accept players from India.
The courts have been called upon to intervene again. The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), the apex industry body for the sector, and some of the country’s major gaming platforms have challenged the laws passed by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Madras High Court, Tamil Nadu’s top court, struck the law down, while the Karnataka High Court is yet to pass a verdict. But Tamil Nadu has approached India’s Supreme Court seeking a reaffirmation of its law.
“If these laws are allowed to stand, it could cripple the gaming sector in India,” Jay Sayta, a lawyer and gaming industry analyst, told Al Jazeera.
At stake is the future of an industry that, if allowed to grow, is expected to employ 40,000 people in India by 2023, according to the AIGF.
The government concerns is genuine, though. In September, police in Andhra Pradesh arrested a man who had stolen gold worth more than $300,000 from a bank to finance his online rummy addiction. Tamil Nadu has witnessed a series of suicides by people who had lost tens of thousands of dollars in online rummy.
But the solution isn’t a blanket ban on gaming, said Roland Landers, CEO of the AIGF. “We strongly believe that the way forward is effective regulation or self-regulation, not prohibition, ”he said.