As Indian authorities struggle once again to regulate online gambling, researchers are doing their best to analyse the current climate in India. How many people gamble and why? Should authorities endorse safe, legal and responsible gambling, rather than impose a total ban on this popular pastime? All this and much more intrigued Arpit Parmar, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at All India Institute of Medical Sciences Bhubaneswar. Intrigued by the situation, Parmar published the “Gambling in India: The Need for a Comprehensive Public Health Framework” paper, addressing the needs of modern gamblers and issues sprouting from a centuries-old legal framework currently in power.
Table of Contents
How Many Indians Gamble? Every Second Citizen!
Forget about cricket being the national sport in India. According to Pramar’s words, we are not obsessed with cricket as much as with gambling. Namely, the professor claims that 46% of all Indians gamble their entire lives, implicating betting and enjoying casino games rarely turns out to be a one-time entertainment.
Despite such a large number of gamblers, the number of those who develop gambling problems is a pari with what we see in other countries across the globe. For instance, 10% of all gamblers in the UK are gambling addicts. In India, problem gambling prevalence is 7.4%.
Regulations Don’t Keep Up With the Market Growth
However, just because the numbers are good-looking now, doesn’t mean they will stay that way. The researcher warns the gambling industry is expanding rapidly and may reach US$5 billion by 2025, as well as hit the historical 500 million users.
Pramar states that the fact there is no modern gambling law in power, nor is gambling considered to be a public concern, may lead to an increase in the number of problem gamblers. Instead of playing in a safe and transparent market, they have to play with offshore brands. Plenty of great brands can be found on Bestindiancasinos.co.in. All of them are tested by a team of Bestindiancasinos.co.in experts and provide an objective and balanced insight into the world of betting. Unfortunately, many players miss out on the opportunity to visit safe review sites and sign up with the first online casino operator, often with devastating results.
Yet, it is not only the black market to blame, as the state also does its part by ignoring the fact online gambling exists. “As gambling is a state subject, the central government has devolved powers to different states to regulate gambling with appropriate measures, including modifications in the central act. Because of this, some forms of gambling are legal whereas others are illegal, depending on the state, mode of play (online vs offline), and nature of gambling (game of skill vs chance)”, writes Pramar.
2023 Ruglatory Updates
2023 was supposed to be a big year for the Indian gambling scene in which the Government will, supported by a team of specialists, finally put things in order. After announcing he recent imposition of a 28% tax on gambling, and establishing teams that should deem which games can be considered gambling, and which don’t, India has shown its ability to bypass great ideas once again.
The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Act, 2022, has been affirmed by the Madras High Court. Nevertheless, the court specified that the prohibition would exclusively pertain to games of chance, excluding games of skill like rummy and poker. Once again, players have found themselves confused and exposed to additional risk, as there is no Tamil Nadu gambling license that would reassure them a certain brand is safe, even if it is only for games of skill.
The Future of Online Gambling in India
The future of online gambling in India is certain, although it might not seem like it. Indians obviously have a passion for gambling that won’t be tamed by high taxes or lack of regulation. If anything else, it will cause people to turn to unregulated and unsafe brands on the black market.
Future legislative changes could play a crucial role in shaping the industry. The regulation and taxation of online gambling may evolve to strike a balance between consumer protection and revenue generation. Still, considering the proposed 28% tax rate, that is not very likely. The implementation of robust consumer protection measures is essential for the sustainable growth of online gambling. Regulators must focus on ensuring fair play, responsible gaming features, and age verification processes, rather than imposing blanket bans or leaving dubious interpretations behind for players to struggle with.
Collaborations with international gaming operators and regulatory bodies can also shape the Indian online gambling landscape. Learning from global best practices can contribute to the development of a secure and transparent industry. Let’s hope that the future will manage to combine Indians’ passion for gambling with a reliable regulatory environment.