The gambling industry in India is estimated to be worth around 60 billion US dollars, but the citizens of the country are currently unable to gain a reasonable share of this booming market due to hostile anti-gambling laws.
Gambling is effectively banned in most states in India, with only a handful, notably Goa, Sikkim and Daman, legally allowing some form of gambling.
In every other part of the country, Indians are prohibited from owning gaming houses, or taking part in any type of gambling activity. Anyone caught breaking the law is punished with a fine or prison term, depending on the magnitude of the offence.
However, there is a loophole in India’s anti-gambling laws. While the rules are pretty clear on land-based gambling, they are very vague on online gambling. These laws are very archaic, and were made long before the advent of online gambling.
Indians have found a safe haven in foreign gambling websites that are hosted and regulated in other countries. Operating a gambling site in India is against the law, but citizens are not prosecuted for playing on offshore sites. Hence, most of India’s gambling revenue is being ploughed to other nations.
This begs the question: Isn’t it time for the government to reconsider and relax the gambling laws in the country? Not only will the economy benefit due to proper taxation, the citizens also get to earn a decent percentage of this sizable market. This would allow Indian online casinos to operate in India instead of abroad.
There are many Indian investors who are willing and able to set up local gambling sites that can stand their ground against international betting sites and online casinos.
The general trend in other countries is that citizens tend to patronize indigenous sites more than their foreign counterparts. After all, no one understands a country better than the people of that country.
Opening up the Indian gambling industry will create job opportunities and encourage micro, small and medium scale enterprises. Gambling sites will be able to establish physical outlets in different parts of India in a bid to improve their presence and visibility, and provide alternatives for customers who do not have access to the internet.
People can come into these shops and register, deposit funds, play and withdraw winnings. These outlets will obviously be operated by local agents on behalf of the sites.
Given the sheer number of gambling sites in the country, and the enormous potential of more sites springing up, thousands of entrepreneurs will be created all over India! These shop owners will also employ their own people to assist with the running of the outlets, thus ensuring that the gambling revenue trickles further down the Indian community.
Online casino games remain a very divisive subject in India, and reservations are perfectly understandable. The negative effects cannot be overlooked, but the positive impact on the economy cannot be ignored.
Naysayers will argue that it breeds addiction and can result in social vices, financial and health problems, but the flip side is that it creates jobs and can actually reduce social unrest. Whether the laws support it or not, people will always find ways to gamble. So why not legalize and regulate it?
It is up to the government to create and enforce laws that minimize the negatives and maximize the good sides of gambling.