The Law Commission of India discussed gambling in its most recent report. One of the most noteworthy inclusions is the commission’s apparent support for cryptocurrencies being used more widely in the gambling sector.
Gambling industry in India
With a population of more than a billion people, there clearly is massive potential when it comes to the gambling sector in the country. Sports betting, in particular, has surged in popularity in recent times, with some of the favorites being horse racing and cricket. Poker and casino games are also popular.
Despite the popularity, a lot of restrictions are placed on gambling in the country, but there has been a growing push for laws to be relaxed. One of the main reasons is that illegal gambling is widespread and significant tax revenue is being lost as a result.
While the state is wary of more expansive laws because of the belief that it will lead to higher levels of crime, corruption, and money laundering, there is certainly a variety of different ways in which they can overcome the issues.
At the moment, the only casinos allowed in the country are based in the provinces of Goa, Daman, and Sikkim.
Many horse racing courses throughout the country attract big crowds. Bookmakers on these racetracks are legal, in addition to those operating the tote betting. Betting on horse races is also legal off the course and can be done in the betting parlors that are dotted around the region.
While gambling is largely illegal in a state sense, horse racing has been fully legalized. This shows that there is some contradiction in the current gambling laws in the country. Lotteries are also not very strictly prohibited. This is interesting because these are games of chance in the purest form and there is no skill attached. Thanks to the Lotteries Act of 1998, these lotteries are allowed.
Online gambling is largely restricted. While some overseas online gambling operators have targeted Indian customers in the past, local governments have over time told local internet service providers to block locals from accessing these types of sites.
Currently, there are only two states in the country that have some sort of legislation related to online gambling. In the region of Maharashtra, it is completely banned by law. In Sikkim, the government grants licenses to those providing online gambling in the region. This is likely going to be a stepping stone for the rest of the country to catch up.
India and cryptocurrency gambling
The Law Commission of India is responsible for legal reform in the country. The commission released a report in July called “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting Including in Cricket in India.”
It looks at all forms of gambling in the country and the relevant regulations. The report includes comments from government officials and the public as to what sort of response they would have if widespread legalization were introduced. One of the most interesting aspects was the mention of the role cryptocurrencies could play in the sector.
The report discussed how “strait-jacket prohibition” on the gambling sector has led to a drastic increase in the level of illegal gambling, which has seen a boom in the black economy. The report recommends that widespread legalization is the best solution to this problem.
This would help with fraud detection and create more transparency in the sector. As part of this new regulatory framework, there could be a move towards a cashless system for wagering that utilizes electronic payments, such as debit cards, credit cards, and cryptocurrencies. There would be strict laws for these electronic payments to comply with anti-money laundering laws. This report could be the catalyst for more widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in India.
Cryptocurrency use is banned in the country, but a court hearing was held on June 20 regarding the issue and judgment is expected in September. The popularity of cryptocurrency has been increasing and, with this latest report, it may not be long before the ban is lifted and more expansionary gambling regulations are introduced.