India is a very attractive market for iGaming operators from around the world but they are hesitant to enter India as online gambling is banned throughout the country barring a couple of states. Gambling is still considered taboo in India and most states have resisted the campaigns from groups such as the Indian Poker Association to legalize online poker in India.
Illegal Gambling Operators Flourish
The demand for online poker and sports betting in India continues to grow as the middle income sector has disposable income which they would like to spend on online wagers playin poker for fun or placing bets on sports to see if they can make a quick return on investment. Since online gambling is banned, Indians are forced to turn to illegal gambling operators who are always willing to take their bets.
The illegal land and online gambling industry in the country has flourished and has caused serious concerns for the authorities. Players are willing to take the risk to play at these unlicensed establishments because it is difficult for the authorities to track them down considering the fact that most of them run a small scale and tight knit operation.
Law Commission Recommends Licensed Gambling Industry
The Law Commission of India has been researching the gambling and sports betting industry in the country and has determined that it would be in the best interests of the government and the Indian people if sports betting and online gambling was regulated throughout the country.
The Commission released a report entitled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including in Cricket in India’ which said that their research found that there were a lot more pros than cons when it came to overall legislation of these two industries.
The report goes on to say “Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable option. Thus, if Parliament or the State Legislatures wish to proceed in this direction, the Commission feels that regulated gambling.”
Commission Recommendations
The Commission which prepared the report at the behest of the Supreme Court of India stated that if the government decided to take its recommendation and legalize sports betting and gambling throughout the country it was important to address these three issues immediately. The first objective would be to bring a major overhaul of the existing horseracing industry and lotteries which operate in the country.
The second objective would be to crackdown on the illegal gambling industry in the country and ensure that it does not eat into the profits of the regulated market and the third objective would be to come out with robust gaming regulations that would streamline the sports betting and online gambling industries in the country and address key issues such as problem gambling, money laundering and match fixing in sports.
Country Could Benefit From New Industry   
The report also pointed out that by legalizing sports betting and online gambling in the country, it would create a brand new industry that would create thousands of jobs, bring in foreign investment from international operators and also generate significant revenue in the form of gaming taxes for the respective state governments. This additional revenue could be used by each state government to make improvements to public welfare and infrastructure development.
Prohibition Not A Long Term Solution
The report pointed out that countries that have banned online gambling have not been successful in keeping out illegal iGaming operators. This also opened the door to potential money laundering activities and cybercrime as citizens had no protection against unlicensed operators.
The Law Commission felt that it would be better for the Indian government and the authorities to take control over the sports betting and gambling industry to ensure that such things don’t happen to Indian citizens.
Anti-Gambling Lobbyists Oppose Recommendations  
While the feedback from the Law Commission report is positive for online gamblers in India, they shouldn’t be getting their hopes up as opposition to gambling in India is still very strong. The ruling BJP government in India’s biggest state Uttar Pradesh is against legalization as they believe it is against the social fabric of the nation and would also increase crime rates in the nation.

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