AMN / NEW DELHI
India’s The Sports Ministry is mulling to frame a legislation to legalise online sports betting in India. According to a Indian Express quoting ministry official, informal consultations have already been held with various stakeholders in the government. However, it may take at least two years for the ministry to prepare a draft.
The Sports Ministry is also likely to seek assistance from its counterparts in the UK, where gambling is legal. Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas, who is currently in England, is likely to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which online sports betting will be one of the key points. “The UK has one of the most effective gambling laws. We hope to understand their system and see if it is possible to introduce it in India,” said a ministry official.
According to Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security, the illegal betting market in India is worth $150 billion, or roughly Rs 9.6 lakh crore. Most of it is via local bookmakers and unregulated offshore websites. At present, betting is legal only on horse racing, and it is taxed at 28 per cent under GST.
At a Group of Secretaries meeting recently, the Sports Ministry said it can address the issue of poor funding for sports at central and state level by making online betting legal. The possibility of diverting a sizeable part of the revenue generated from betting towards the ministry’s programmes is also being deliberated.