India’s love for gambling stems from its rich culture. Gambling in the country can be traced back to the 7300’s BC or 430 BC. According to the Ramayana, many people in the country back then enjoy chess and gambling with dice.
This site is focused on the Indian market and aside from cricket betting, it also offers numerous casino games that the locals love like Teen Patti and Andar Bahar.
Indian gaming market and this is why experts predict that the local iGaming industry will continue to prosper in the coming years. However, is it the case despite the push to lessen gambling activities in the country? Let’s find out.
Even today, gambling in India is still everywhere. People love playing card games and even betting on sports, particularly cricket. And now that the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) is ongoing, it is likely that many people are now trying to find out who are the top IPL batsmen to make informed bets.
Is Online Betting Legal in the First Place?
So before we look into how the iGaming industry in India is doing, let’s talk about the legalities of online gambling first in the country. What you need to know is that gambling activities in India are regulated by the Public Gaming Act of 1867.
The thing about this is that it’s so old that it has no mention of anything that’s online gambling-related. Even the Information Technology Act in India which was passed in 2000 and revised in 2008 has no mention of online gambling. This is the law in place for any online activities in the country.
Because of that, online gambling is still in the grey area and it’s up to each state to regulate or prohibit this activity. Which is what states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana have tried to do so over the last few years.
Telangana was one of the first states to prohibit online gaming activities including online gambling in its territory. The purpose was to prohibit people from playing gambling games which could lead to problematic gambling behaviors.
However, mid-last year, the state seems to have taken a different stance regarding this issue. According to Telangana Principal Secretary for IT, Electronics, and Communications, Jayesh Ranjan, “Blanket ban on online games is not a solution, and the sector can bring a lot of opportunities to drive the economy, create jobs, and enhance productivity.
“We always had that clarity that blanket banning is not the solution. One needs to make a distinction between a game of skill and a game of chance. Some of these reasons, particularly from law enforcement agencies, have been a push back about banning or stopping people from playing these games, is largely driven by a game of chance.”
With that, Ranjan also explained that the government is planning to come up with a policy for online gaming without compromising the growth of gaming infrastructures in the state.
Ranjan said, “We don’t want to rush something which can be potentially challenged in a court or which may lead to some amount of public misunderstanding and outcry.”
Right now, no further updates are released about the changes that Telangana will implement. What Ranjan said about coming up with something that can be challenged in court may pertain to what happened in Tamil Nadu last year.
Tamil Nadu also implemented a ban on online gaming within its territories but it didn’t take long until the Madras High Court overturned the ban. It was in August last year when the Madras High Court strikes down the Tamil Nadu law that banned online games like rummy and poker.
According to the High Court, the Part II of the TN Gaming and Police Laws Amendment Act in 2021 is unconstitutional. This part of the law violates Article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution which allows people the right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade, or business.
The bench also added that the wide-ranging ban is rather excessive and disproportionate to the object sought to be achieved. However, it was also said that Tamil Nadu can still pass another legislation as long as it is conforming to the constitution.
It does seem like Tamil Nadu will still ban online gambling, however. Before 2021 ended, the state moved the case to the Supreme Court and is still awaiting a decision. The same is happening in Karnataka which has recently lifted the ban on online gaming.
Karnataka is still looking to place a ban on online gambling even after the decision of the High Court about its initial amendment. The home minister, Araga Jnanendra, said, “We would prefer to rectify these shortcomings and work on an alternative draft that would stand in a court of law.”
What the Future Looks Like
With all that in mind, many are now wondering whether the future of iGaming still looks bright in India. There are European companies that have been eyeing India as the next big market for online gambling, but with the recent developments, it’s hard to say whether this will still be the case in the coming years.
Experts do warn that the laws that these states are trying to work on don’t distinguish what games are driven by chance or skill. According to them, this detail is critical.
Jay Sayta, a lawyer and gaming industry analyst agrees and said, “If these laws are allowed to stand, it could cripple the gaming sector in India.”
This is also what organizations like the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) have been telling the local governments about banning online gaming in their territories. The AIGF has been calling out the state of Karnataka about this matter since they implemented the ban last year.
The CEO of AIGF, Roland Landers, said that a ban is simply not a solution to the problems that the government is saying. He said, “We strongly believe that the way forward is effective regulation or self-regulation, not prohibition.”