Online gambling

Why it is better to regulate online gambling than to ban it

But 1XBat is not powered by venture capital money. Instead, it is a thinly veiled substitute for the main 1XBet online bet. The Cyprus-registered online betting site counts cricketers like Dwayne Bravo among its brand ambassadors. Suresh Raina can be seen endorsing the sports blog on the homepage of the betting site. It is a familiar presence for the online betting community estimated at over 140 million people in India.

In fact, cricket-mad Indians are such a big market for him that he even sponsors minor league cricket in the United States to reach the sub-continental diaspora there.

India, in fact, is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for online gambling in all its forms, from sports betting to online card and casino games. Although there are no official statistics available, the gambling industry in India is estimated at between $60 billion and $150 billion per year.

While most forms of gambling are illegal in India, the online gambling industry, which includes online betting and real-money gambling, the rapidly growing fantasy sports segment, already has over 100 million people. regular users.

According to a study by Mybetting.in, there are over 140 million Indians who regularly bet online. This number peaks at over 370 million at high-engagement events like the IPL. There are up to 37 online betting sites that operate in India. Although all of them are registered overseas and hosted on foreign servers, accepting payment in Rupees using platforms such as UPI, Paytm and PhonePe, they have made rapid progress in penetrating India.

This is just the sports-centric online betting market in the country. Since internet penetration is still below its potential, the entire offline betting market, including the famous Indian “satta” market (which takes bets on anything from election results the time or amount of rain on a day) is a multiple of this number, with estimates exceeding $10 million.

This is why online betting platforms are rushing to grab the attention of the Indian player. And what better way to do that than through cricket, which industry estimates account for around 90-95% of all online betting in India. And, since they cannot officially advertise what is officially illegal activity, it has led to a rash of surrogate sites.

In fact, the popular Tamil Nadu Premier League cricket sponsors – Trichy-Sat sport, Tiruppur-Dafa news, Kovai-playon99, Chepauk-parimatch and Salem-sky exchange – are all substitutes for online betting sites.

Substitute advertising, of course, is nothing new. Cigarette makers have been doing it for decades, with tobacco giant ITC’s diversification of its Wills cigarette brand into fashion wear and beauty proving so successful that it’s now a standalone brand. fully fledged.

Another industry that is restricted from advertising because it is considered a “sinful” good, alcohol, also makes heavy use of surrogate advertising. music CDs and even glasses, all emblazoned with the name of his beer brand Kingfisher.

All of this, of course, stems from the same worldview – that certain acts – such as smoking, drinking and gambling, are harmful to health, morals or both, and should therefore be suppressed by force of law. While the link between smoking and health is well established, and tobacco is a tightly regulated and heavily taxed industry around the world, alcohol consumption and gambling are in a grayer area.

Addiction is a serious and recognized problem when it comes to alcohol and gambling. But states have a schizophrenic view of alcohol. While prohibition exists in several states and is tightly controlled in others, alcohol – which the states have unanimously decided to keep out of the scope of the GST – contributes more than 2 lakh crore per year in their coffers. In fact, more than 164% of Karnataka’s own revenue comes from alcohol taxation, while the share of alcohol taxes in total revenue in Delhi and Haryana is also in double digits.

India’s long history of prohibition has in no way deterred consumption. On the contrary, it only breeds corruption and rent seeking. Likewise with betting, which has flourished despite being illegal.

It is high time that our legislators got off their high moral horses and recognized the fact that Indians love to drink and gamble. Regulating the industry and legalizing gambling will have the dual benefit of putting a massive industry under the tax net, while allowing law enforcement to prevent misuse and abuse. It is time for Indians to be treated as adults and allowed to exercise their own life choices.

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