Sports betting, or the act of gambling money on a sports game is extremely popular in all countries. The entire market was valued at 12.5 Billion US in 2019, with a projected growth of 17.5 Billion US by 2025. In 2017, land-based sports betting segments accounted for the highest share in the global sports betting market, but economists predict that online gambling platforms will exceed brick and mortar establishments. With that said, the Indian sports betting industry, which exists solely online, is big business despite legality issues.
The Legality of Sports Betting
Although online betting, in general, isn't illegal in India, sports betting exists in a weird grey area. India views betting on sports as unlawful, and several street bookies have been arrested and charged as a result. As of writing this, there are no arrests in India associated with online sports betting. As long as the website's main office is located outside of India, you can bet online legally.
The only federal gambling law in the country is The Public Gambling Act of 1867 but only speaks on behalf of brick and mortar establishments. This law makes gambling illegal across the country, with a few exceptions. Horse racing is allowed, but many gambling aficionados have said that sports betting, in general, takes similar skills - so betting on other games should be legalized.
Even if betting on sports is illegal under Central government ruling, India's constitution gives states the right to set their own laws around gambling. Sikkim has legalized real money sports betting on sports like cricket and also grants gambling licenses to newly formed brick and mortar establishments. Goa allows slots machines in Five Star Hotels.
Always check with your government state laws before gambling in any Indian state. Any online gambling website in the UK (or Europe) is entirely legal under European or International law. Check where the online gambling establishment is located before usage.
The Popularity in Indian Cities
Since 2020, Indians have started to spend approximately one-third of their waking hours on their phones, which roughly translates to 1,800 hours per year. Based on a survey, 75 percent of the 2000 participants stated that they wanted to own a smartphone in their teens, and these teens have continued using their smartphones daily.
There is little data on sports betting and its popularity in India. Still, one statistic shows that 40% of Indians with computers visit online betting sites specifically for lotto, horse betting, and cricket. Cricket is likely the most popular sport to bet on because of its popularity in the country. It's assumed that the total betting market for sports betting is worth 3-4 Billion.
Find Trusted Betting Websites
Multiple foreign betting sites try to cater to the growing number of sports fans interested in betting on hockey, cricket, and baseball in a safe and convenient manner. When looking for a website, check to see if their language section features languages that are common in India (Bengali, Tamil, Urdu, Punjabi) because these sites likely cater to Indians.
Second, be sure that the gambling website is off-shore. Although there are a few states that do allow brick and mortar gambling in some cases, it's better to be safe than sorry. Although sports betting remains illegal in most of India, many new laws will likely arise in the next few years to question the legality of betting in general.
Potential of Legalization
In 2017, a web article by Samatha Beckett of Casino.org explained that the Indian federal government is taking many steps towards legalizing sports betting. An anonymous ministry official told the Indian Express that the Sports Ministry "initiated a consultation process with stakeholders that could see a framework of regulation established."
India's Sports Minister Vijay Goel stated that this legislation wouldn't be fast-tracked, so the Senate would take its time passing a fair sports betting law.
With billions of dollars spent on sports betting alone and almost a trillion on online gambling as a whole, there is a massive industry that could benefit the Indian economy with the right legislation. It's estimated that sports better could generate over $50 billion per year, which could swell federal tax coffers by $2 billion.