Maharashtra in India could soon welcome legal online sports betting, as the government explores different ways of bolstering its economy. The Times of India recently quoted a minster from the National Congress Party in Maharashtra, who said that the local government was analysing a report about what might happen if online sports betting and other forms of gambling were legalised.
Earlier this year, the government put a task force together with a one-time finance minister placed in charge. The task force was established as Maharashtra’s financial situation began to worsen, thanks to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The online gambling industry as a whole could be one way of helping the Indian economy make a recovery in these strange times. Online sports betting could join forces with the online casino industry, for example, to provide what would be some much economic welcome relief. The public would also welcome more gambling activities. After all, they're already embracing the industry at a time when entertainment remains a pleasant distraction. According to CasinoWings, this is one of the reasons why online casino gambling is growing in India.
The state of Maharashtra had already public discussed the possibility of legalising online betting on an easier occasion. But by the beginning of September, the state’s revenue had been estimated to have experienced a shortfall of more than Rs610b (US$8.3b) as a result of coronavirus. This has meant that any potential new sources of revenue could be considered, in spite of previous concerns over alleged negative social effects.
The state’s debt has reached more than Rs 5.4 lakh core, with this year not helping much, thanks to the effects felt by the economy after lockdown went into place on March 25. There have been some moves to help the economy, but it needs more. A cabinet member from the NCP said that they were at a point where illegal betting and gambling were hard to control, and that it would therefore make sense to legalise it all and earn revenue from it.
Online Betting in Sikkim
An unnamed bureaucrat said that the report from the task force had looked at online gambling in Sikkim, along with recommendations made by the Lodha commission, which claimed that by legalising online sports betting, there would be less match fixing in cricket.
The online sports betting scene in Sikkim is something of an odd one, as it’s exclusively offered in betting terminals in retail shops. These state rules were made even stricter in Sikkim's when betting was allowed only to visitors from outside of the state. This left local residents unable to bet, while also minimising the Sikkim’s financial benefits.
The gambling rules in India are inconsistent from one state to the next. The Bangalore Turf Club was recently granted permission by Karnataka to offer online sports betting. Maharashtra has hinted that it would take the same approach, and Andhra Pradesh recently proposed a law that would see online gamblers be imprisoned for six months for a first offence.
The differences in gambling laws has put pressure on the Indian government to implement a national framework for gambling that would bring the current laws into the modern era. These laws date back more than one and a half centuries.