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What is the Real Scale of Online Gambling in India?

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Research conducted by ENV Media reveals just how prevalent sports betting is in India!

The study’s key findings estimate the value of the annual market size in online betting lies between $40billion and $150billion – but that most of it is illegal and cash-based.

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Furthermore, the research crafts a compelling argument for market regulation, citing economic and social benefits.

Industry insiders have long argued for regulation in India – there is a consensus that introducing a government body will reduce the number of cowboy outfits operating on the black market and improve overall customer safety. It will also help to assuage public perception of online gambling in India, which remains oblique. 

The study also reveals how cricket continues to dominate the sector, but other global sports and leagues are gaining popularity with every passing day, and the specter of fantasy sports betting is just around the corner. 

What Are The Benefits To Regulation?

But for a few instances, online betting remains illegal in India! Despite that, it is an overwhelmingly popular pastime! The ENV research shows how legality is not an issue for the public in India, rather the societal, cultural, and technological constraints.

By bringing in a national body to oversee the betting industry in India, rather than delegate to individual states as is currently the practice, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) predicts it will enrich the nation to the tune of a quarter of a billion dollars – or 19.000 cr – every year!

An apposite survey conducted by the FICCI found 83% of respondents prefer to regulate sports betting, ahead of outlawing it altogether. 

Furthermore, the introduction of a sports regulator body will help maximise revenues derived from sports betting and sponsorship that can contribute to the development of grassroot sports and infrastructure! 

The research surmises that ultimately, for the sports betting industry to fully realise its immense financial potential, a central (rather than state) regulation is required. 

International best practices are recommended as frameworks from which to introduce regulation – the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC)  is one such body that is cited as a good example from which to work from. 

What Are The Pros Of Regulation For The Sports Bettor

For those who enjoy a flutter in India, there may be some concern that increased regulation will mean a more intrusive betting experience.

There is clear evidence, however, that a state body adds to the safety and security for a customer, rather than negating any journey. 

Here are some of the benefits a player can expect from a regulatory body:

  • Accountability. Online sportsbooks must meet strict guidelines designed to protect the customer and their money. Failure to comply with audits and other requirements could lead to the suspension of any license to operate.
  • Support channels. An industry regulator will likely come with the introduction of an ombudsman, which will take up the fight on a bettor’s behalf to contest disputes.
  • A better quality of sportsbook! Opening up to international betting giants can improve the experience of sports bettors and drive up the quality of online competitors too.

Will Regulation Have An Impact On The Public Perception Of Sports Betting?

There is no solid evidence to suggest the addition of a sports betting regulator improves the attitude of the general public – but it would be fair to assume its introduction would help improve the acceptance of online betting in India. 

By creating an environment where the top sports betting sites in India must remain answerable to higher authorities, the trust in the sector should improve through the roof. 

That’s not to touch on the positive financial implications from its inception that the ENV research suggests! 

Any concerns surrounding the over-regulation of user finances should be offset by legal avenues to protect consumers. 

ENV Media believes the positives of betting regulation outweigh the negatives and when this is realised, changes could be quickly implemented. They do, though, advise a considered strategy.

“When and if the Central Government of India realizes that there are consistent voter bases that would readily support sports betting and online gaming regulations, we might expect changes in the legal scene, probably rather swift ones as well. As things stand, catering for the conservative share of the population requires a careful approach and no outward liberalization of the betting market.”

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