The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) is calling upon the Indian government to crack down on illegal offshore gambling sites that target Indian residents.
The AIGF is a non-profit industry group that does a lot of research and advocacy in the gambling sector. The organization wrote a letter to India’s prime minister the government to block these offshore sites that are taking deposits from Indian users.
The federation also asked the country’s chief law enforcement agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to conduct investigations into these matters. They want the agency to take action against any operators that are found to be acting illegally by targeting Indian residents.
Gambling sector in India
With a population of more than 1 billion, India is a large market for gambling. One of the most popular pursuits in this sector is sports betting. The people of India are crazy about sports, particularly cricket and horse racing. They also enjoy casino games and poker.
However, even though these are popular pursuits, the authorities heavily restrict gambling in the country. A lot of groups have recently been pushing for some of these restrictions to be eased.
A big reason is the massive popularity of illegal gambling platforms, particularly those from offshore countries. Massive amounts of revenue that could be going to the government are instead going into the pockets of criminals.
The state is still hesitant to expand the gambling laws in India because they don’t want corruption and crime to increase.
Casinos are legal in the provinces of Sikkim, Daman, and Goa and bookmakers operate legally at racetracks in other provinces. Bettors can also place off-track wagers on horse races legally throughout the country. Lotteries have been legal nationwide since the Lotteries Act of 1998.
For the most part, online gambling is not legal. There is hope that the fact that the province of Sikkim issues online gambling licenses could pave the way for a nationwide movement.
Problems with illegal gambling
Because of Indian’s restrictions on gambling, many people turn to illegal platforms, often those that are offshore.
These operators do not pay any taxes to the government, and they are illegally targeting these residents. This is a problem around the world in countries that have a restrictive gambling sector.
Most of the time, these offshore companies’ activities are not under scrutiny, so they can operate without any consequences.
That’s why the AIGF wants the Indian government to block access to all foreign gambling websites from within the country. Such a move would prevent these sites from accepting deposits from residents of India.
The AIGF is claiming that these offshore operators are constantly “luring and accepting bets from Indian citizens.”
The illegal operators are clearly happy to continue doing because as they are not being punished. It is such a sizeable market that they are earning huge sums from Indian players. They often operate out of tax havens where their funds cannot be touched, so face no consequences.
It will certainly be interesting to see if the Indian government responds to the AIGF’s letter. This could be the perfect opportunity to introduce new legislation which will allow for more extensive domestic online offerings.