Our last news piece coming out of India spoke about the outrageous tax levels that were coming to introduction in India for all sorts of services including sports betting and gambling which was at an astronomical 28%!
Now there’s a bit of a brighter outlook on the horizon with a draft legislation being put together by India’s Sports Ministry – this legislation would legalise online sports betting in India – a decision that would be celebrated by the entire sports betting world by the operators and by the sport-obsessed nation that is India.
India has great history in sport and the followers of their regional teams and individuals as well as their national teams is always of the highest calibre in terms of passion, commitment and of course, the ability to place bets on the games.
Indian people can bet elsewhere in the world, albeit not wholly legal as such firms are “unregulated” – and some even bet locally through unlicensed bookmakers which is 100% illegal. The only sport that is, strangely enough, legal, is Horse Racing – Indian’s can bet freely on Horse Racing but such bets are taxable at the 28% tax level we mentioned previously.
Now I know what you are thinking, why is Horse Racing legal but nothing else is? Horse Racing is, in all honesty, not a sport that Indian’s are really that interested in. Cricket is the sports betting currency of the country and some different paths are being made into the growing popularity of Soccer amongst others, but Cricket is the money spinner for gambling companies and the bets of choice for most Indian bettors, so the Indian government allowing this sports betting legally offshore and in India would have made financial sense a long time ago.
India’s sports secretary, Injeti Srinivas, is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding in which online sports betting will be one of the key points. He comments: “The UK has one of the most effective gambling laws. We hope to understand their system and see if it is possible to introduce it in India. The UK has overcome this (poor funding) through lottery and online betting.
“The department is preparing a Memorandum of Understanding with the UK and the aspect of betting will be included therein to understand the mechanism and evolve a view on the possibility of its introduction in India.
“However, it can be beneficial to the economy as well as sports overall. We are looking at the best international practices in sports integrity and ethics framework.”
We shouldn’t get too excited as operators or if you are Indian sports betting enthusiast, processes like this often take a long time to reach a climax and the first step of putting together legislation, even just a draft, can take 2-3 years to be completed so whilst it’s great to see progression, it is likely to be a future, and we mean a future, change to look forward too.