Legal Aspect of Sports Betting in India

Nowadays, betting sites are growing like wildfire; however, this was not the case a decade ago. Previously betting was not legal and that’s why it used to be done among friends and people who know each other.

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Betting is more popular than ever due to the growing interest of people in this activity. People see sports betting as a means to earn a handsome side income and even some have turned sports betting into a full-time profession by leaving their current jobs. It is the income that people are generating by placing sporting bets that makes people leave their current jobs for the sake of sports betting. 

Sports betting is not as easy as it looks from the other side and you have to jump into this field to experience whether putting your money into sports betting is worth it or not. Before you put your money into sports betting, it is important to gather knowledge and pain points of the sport so that you can predict how the contest will pan out. It is suggested to start with a small amount and never put all your money into betting. It is because you can either win or lose and no one is going to support you if you end up losing. Let’s now dive into the legal aspect of sports betting in India. 

Nowadays, betting sites are growing like wildfire; however, this was not the case a decade ago. Previously betting was not legal and that’s why it used to be done among friends and people who know each other. People used to place bets among themselves on the outcome or individual performance. However, this scenario changed with the introduction of domestic T20 leagues, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), which forced the regulatory bodies to legalize sports betting (with some conditions). 

Historical Context 

The legal framework surrounding sports betting in India has been around since colonial-era laws and precedents. The Public Gambling Act of 1867, enacted under British rule served as the primary force governing gambling activities in India. This law prohibits most forms of gambling, including sports betting. 

However, with the popularity of sports leagues such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), exceptions were made under the law where games of skill and state-regulated lotteries were legalized. 

A Know-How of the Legal Status of Sports Betting

Most forms of gambling are prohibited in India while games of skill and state-regulated lotteries are exceptions and that’s what makes the legal status of sports betting in India ambiguous and subject to interpretation. The legalization of sports betting remains a debatable topic as some people are in favour of legalization and want all sports to be eligible for betting. Those who are against its legalization argue that why some sports, such as horse racing enjoy the status of game of skill. 

State Versus Central Jurisdiction

What makes the job of legalization of sports betting in India is the distribution of legislative powers between the central government and respective state governments. Under the Constitution of India, gambling falls within the purview of state governments and they are responsible for enacting laws to regulate sports betting. The good news is that most state governments have legalized sports betting with few conditions so that only people with experience try their hands at sports betting. 

The Digital Dilemma

Seeing the flux of people toward sports betting, there has been a sharp increase in the number of online betting platforms that has added another layer of complexity. There is no problem with the increase of online betting platforms as they come under the jurisdiction of either state or central government and the problem arises with betting platforms whose servers are located outside India, which is beyond Indian jurisdiction. This is what leaves bettors in a dilemma as they are doubtful whether the platform they place their bets is regulated or not. 

The Match-Fixing Shadow

The match-fixing looms large over sports betting and that’s what adds to the dilemma of people who are planning to place bets on a particular sport. There have been many instances of match-fixing and that’s what makes people doubtful about placing sports bets. Those instances have fueled calls for stricter regulations and increased scrutiny of online platforms to protect the integrity of sports and bettors' interests. 

Winds of Changes

The ambiguity surrounding sports betting is not hidden from policymakers and they always keep a close eye on what’s happening in the world of sports betting. The Law Commission of India in their 2019 report had recommended legalizing all forms of gambling, including sports betting; however, it must be done only on platforms that have permission from regulatory bodies. The policymakers believe that it would generate revenue for the government and curb illegal activities. 

Future of Sports Betting in India

The future of sports betting is bright in India and that’s why there has been an enormous increase in the number of betting sites. However, with the push for the legalization of sports betting, challenges also persist so that people don’t end up losing their money fraudulently. The key to success is striking a balance between generating revenue, protecting players, and upholding moral values. 

There must be no place for betting platforms that are not under the control of the regulatory bodies. So, it must be your duty to ascertain whether the platform you choose to place your bets must be regulated and follow all the rules and regulations. Do keep in mind that the thrill of the chase may be tempting, but responsible and informed participation is paramount. 

Conclusion: Knowing the legality of the sport you are planning to place your bets is crucial because the fate of winning or losing is quite dependent on it. In this post, we have discussed the legal aspect of sports betting and if you are a betting enthusiast, you should give it a reading. 


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