To Bet or Not to Bet - Sports Betting Laws in India

As the society changes, the law cannot remain immutable”

– Justice D P Madon

They say cricket is not a game, it is a religion. In 2019, the India – Pakistan ICC World Cup match saw a viewership of 229 million within India itself[1]. The importance of cricket as a unifying force cannot be debated and needn’t be proved; what is rather interesting is the ancillary impact a simple match of cricket can have on an economy, such as India.

Economic exploitation of cricket is widespread globally: it includes broadcasting rights, sponsorship and merchandising, to name a few. However, another prevalent and illegal exploitation in the form of betting takes precedence over all of the above, for the simple reason that due to the nature of the transaction, the said consideration paid, is officially taken out of India’s financial system and put into a parallel industry, which remains untaxed and unregulated.
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Legal Conundrum of Real Money Online Poker 

Indian mythology suggests that playing and losing at a game of dice led to the Pandava brothers, their wife and mother being sent to exile. Regardless of this cautionary tale, the online gaming market in India has taken off in India with revenues reaching Rs. 43.8 billion in FY 18 and expected to grow to Rs. 118.8 billion by 2023.[1]

The question of whether the state should permit businesses relating to betting and gambling was hotly debated in the Constituent Assembly Debates, with several members opposing constitutional sanction to betting and gambling activities. Members drew support for their argument from sources as varied as the apocryphal sufferings of the Pandavas to the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.

Notwithstanding their opposition, List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Indian Constitution places matters relating to betting and gambling within the legislative purview of state governments. This compromise allowed state governments to choose to either prohibit or regulate (and tax) activities relating to betting and gambling.
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