Over the years, the gambling market in India has been severely restricted by the government as they have strictly regulated gambling and gambling related activities, allowing only lotteries and horse racing.
In India, gambling is a state subject, and only states were entitled to make legislation that affects its activities in their locality. In states like Maharashtra, online gaming is a banned offence. Only three states allow casinos, and they are Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. In this three states, casinos can only be played in five-star hotels or offshore vessels with permission from the government.
India’s Public Gambling Law prohibits running or being in charge of a gambling center this law comes with a penalty of up to ₹200 or imprisonment of up to 3 months while those who participate in gaming are made to pay ₹100. The Information Technology Act 2000 of India also prohibits the transmission of information that can corrupt people and this includes gambling which comes with a punishment of ₹100,000 or imprisonment up to 5 years.
Most Indian nationalities who criticize gambling claims that it could lead to crime, corruption and money laundering while others who are in support of it argue that if gambling is properly regulated, it will lead to revenue generation. It is difficult to forsee them allowing games such as Leprechaun Goes to Hell Slot being played in rural Punjab any time soon!
Strict regulations on gambling in India have given rise to a high number of illegal gambling throughout the country. Presently, the India gambling market is estimated to worth over US$60 billion per year. The expected revenue rate has generated interest of foreigners who are eager to make profit from the India gambling market with companies such as William Hill and Ladbrokes who have decided to win the gaming licenses offered by the state of Sikkim, which is the only Indian State to provide gambling license.
In 2016 fiscal year, the total revenue generated from the gaming market in India is estimated to be US$1,059.08 million, and the figure is expected to rise by 17.6 % between 2017 to 2021 and reach US$2,229.90 million by FY2021.
The growth in the segment can be attributed to increasing lottery ticket sales, and a whopping tourism and hospitality sector. One of the biggest problem faced by players in India is the fact that depositing to foreign account is very difficult; most gamblers pay money online using Neteller or Moneybookers, others attempt to use Visa or MasterCard which may fail. To get around these blocks, savvy internet users have started making use of e-wallet services for depositing.
For India to compete favourably with countries such as Singapore, Macau, and Malaysia, there is a need to create a law that will promote gambling and attract leading gaming experts to invest in the industry.
The government also needs to encourage individuals interested in investing by removing all forms of restriction. If these limitations are not removed, local gamblers may be forced to look for gambling destinations such as Singapore, Macau or Malaysia.
With the tremendous potential and revenues expected to be generated from the Indian gaming market, the world awaits to see if India will open its doors by creating a conducive environment for gamblers to operate and generate income.