Gambling is very common in India. It has become a very great market for entertainment as well as earning large amounts of money. Skill games, casino sports betting, online sports betting, etc., are kinds of gambling. In today’s society, sports betting has become highly popular. Sports betting is a type of sports betting in which a wager or stake is placed on the results of a sporting event. There are many different types of sports betting that take place around the world, and online betting is one such type. In India, there is a lot of excitement for cricket. The bet is not placed only on the outcome of the match but also on every ball. However, sports betting in India is mostly illegal, except for betting on horse racing.
Sports Betting: The Benefits and Drawbacks
Sports betting has many pros and cons. If we talk about the pros of sports betting, it provides employment to the impoverished and underprivileged. If we take an example from the lottery and casinos, five million people participate in the lottery on a part-time basis, and casinos create jobs in a variety of ways, including food preparation, parking, and customer service.
If we talk about the cons of sports betting, we can claim that it is unlawful. Sports betting is a termite that is steadily destroying the Indian economy. As a result of this, the crime rate is rapidly increasing. Money earned through unlawful means is typically invested in the market, which can be discouraging to honest businesspeople because it creates illicit rivalry. Sports betting, in general, is used to shift money from the poor to the wealthy by providing them with the false impression that they will make more money. Gambling generates illicit or black money that does not appear in accounts; therefore, it has no positive impact on the economy. Gambling has an impact on the country’s moral ideals, social life, and economic situation. Gambling is a state affair in India; hence, the government has the authority to enact laws to regulate it.
The legality of sports betting
The law in India classifies different types of games as either “games of skill” or “games of chance.” This distinguishes traditional fantasy sports betting from daily fantasy sports betting. In India, gambling on “games of skill” is not frowned upon. Because betting on fantasy sports requires some level of ability, doing so is not illegal. Also, in fantasy sports, your rivals aren’t bookies but rather other real people, unlike in traditional betting, which pits bettors against the house. The ‘Dimmag se Dhoni’ campaign that Dream11 ran was intended to reinforce the nature of the game as being skill-based.
The laws related to sports betting are very confusing and complex to understand because every country has its own legislation. The majority of this legislation does not make it clear what specifically is legal and what specifically is not legal. Horse race betting is the lone exception to India’s strict prohibition on gambling on other sports. The regulations of the individual states or general laws of India govern every other type of sport played in India.
The Public Gambling Act of 1867 and the Information Technology Act of 2000 apply across the majority of the territory that makes up India. Bets on sporting events are prohibited by those statutes; but, individual states have the authority to enact laws of their own discretion. The Public Gambling Act of 1867 makes it unlawful for individuals in India to participate in any form of gambling. According to the Public Gambling Act of 1867, it is against the law to operate a public gambling house or be in control of one. The punishment for breaking any provision of this law is a fine of Rs. 200 or imprisonment for up to 3 months.
Should India legalise sports betting?
As we have discussed earlier, sports betting in India is illegal except for horse racing. If the existing legal system was unable to prevent gambling from occurring and if it is impossible to stop, then why not regulate it so that at least part of the illicit activities may be brought under control? Various arguments are given in favour of legalising sports betting. Many famous personalities, like Ranjit Singh, Rahul Dravid, etc., have argued in favour of legalising sports betting. In these trying times for the global economy, taxing the profits that are brought in by gambling can seem like an extremely alluring choice. The most ideal scenario is one in which the government issues unambiguous legislation, which both legalises gambling and provides adequate protection for players. In lieu of explicit bans, which only serve to exacerbate the problem, this will be the approach that is favoured. It is a situation in which both the government and the bettors can get benefit. The government will be able to reap the financial benefits of increased tax income if it ensures that betting can take place in a secure environment. Instead of becoming mixed up in the underworld of criminal groups, customers will be able to place their wagers on open markets where the money can be tracked down, which will be of great assistance to them. The Lodha Committee, which was set up to investigate the spot-fixing incidents that took place during the Indian Premier League, also suggested that betting should be legalised in order to combat the problem of match-fixing. This recommendation came from the committee’s head, the former Chief Justice R. M. Lodha.
In India, gambling and betting are not governed by any specific laws since there are none. It is necessary to enact appropriate legislation to oversee gambling and betting operations in order to shield the general public from the negative impacts of these pursuits and to increase the level of transparency in the sector. Offshore organisations are taking advantage of this legal loophole right now because India does not have a law that specifically prohibits internet betting in any specific way. The Information Technology Act of 2000, which regulates cyber operations in India, does not mention the words “Gambling” or “betting,” and as a result, the act has been left up to the courts to interpret. So, there is a need for an unambiguous law and proper regulation to govern sports betting in India.
Legal Intern, LawDiktat