India Sports Betting Legalization Talks Progress

Shortly after Indian news outlets reported that the country’s Sports Ministry has initiated talks over the potential legalization of sports betting activities beyond horse racing, it has become known that an official from the ministry has discussed the matter with a member of the UK Gambling Commission.

According to previous reports, politicians from the South Asian country were looking at UK’s regulatory framework as the potential exemplary model for India’s future sports betting laws. UK’s sports betting market annually generates more than £5 billion in gross gambling yield, according to UK Gambling Commission figures, which makes it one of the world’s largest such markets. What is more, it has seen continued growth over the years both online and across betting shops.

With population of more than 1.3 billion people (World Bank: 2016) and the apparent and growing interest in sports betting in India, this type of gambling activity is believed to have the potential to reap great success in the country, if legalized and regulated properly. Here it is important to note that betting on horse racing is currently legal in India and is actually the only betting activity permitted by law.

Local media reported today that Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas has discussed the industry with UK Gambling Commission Director Nick Tofiluk and that India will seek further cooperation with the UK regulatory body on the future regulation of its own market, if such regulation is decided to be implemented.

The challenges a potential legalization effort could face and UK’s sports betting law were among the topics touched upon by the two officials during their meeting.

Although the regulation of India’s sports betting market is gaining more and more support among both residents and politicians, there are still powerful government members who seem to be less certain about the move’s success and usefulness.

According to local media, the country’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Vijay Goel has long been opposing any legislative effort in that direction and he is not likely to support the current push, as well.

Indian officials have initiated a study that would be particularly focused on the success of the UK sports betting regulatory framework and its applicability to India’s current conditions and demand for that type of offering.

It has also been reported that the country’s Law Commission has already heard from involved parties on potential changes in the current regulatory status quo. The Commission is working on its own report on the matter, the results of which are expected to be announced in the months to come. It will, too, explore the advantages and disadvantages of regulating sports betting in India, particularly given the country’s current socio-economic conditions as well as the applicability of UK’s regulatory model.

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