IPL 2024: By Indulging In Online Betting, Are You Risking Jail Time? | EXCLUSIVE

India lacks a central law governing online betting. Some states have individual prohibitions, but many operate in a legal grey area. This allows platforms like Parimatch to operate by registering their businesses offshore, making it difficult for Indian authorities to regulate their activities. However, the rise of online betting platforms in India has also ignited a debate—is placing a bet online really a crime, and could it land you in jail?
ipl 2024 online betting

IPL 2024: By Indulging In Online Betting Are You Risking Jail Time. (IPL)

Photo : PTI
KEY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There is a considerable rise in online betting during the IPL season.
  • India lacks a central law governing online betting.
  • Times Now Digital EXCLUSIVE: Can online betting get you in trouble?
The rise of online sports betting platforms in India has coincided with a growing concern - Indian bettors might be particularly susceptible to losing money. The ease of access to online betting platforms, even more so during the ongoing Indian Premier League, coupled with aggressive marketing promoting quick riches, can be enticing. This can cloud judgment and lead to bets exceeding what individuals can afford to lose. Unlike established betting markets, the Indian audience might be less familiar with the intricacies of sports betting odds and probabilities. This lack of knowledge can lead to impulsive bets and serious consequences.
"Considering the lack of awareness and relatively lower literacy levels in India, the public at large is more susceptible to losing money on betting platforms. It would be best if the Government put in place an effective mechanism to bifurcate betting platforms from games of skill (which should be allowed to operate). As regards betting, the Government can look at setting up a highly regulated State-run lottery (which is currently the case in some States)," said Gaurav Bhalla, who heads the Technology, Intellectual Property, Data Protection, and Gaming practice areas at Ahlawat & Associates, in an email interview to Sports Now. | CLICK Updated IPL Points Table
But the rise of online betting platforms in India has also ignited another debate – is placing a bet online really a crime, and could it land you in jail? Before getting to the answer one must understand that India's legal landscape regarding online betting is a complex web. Some states have enacted specific laws, with some like Sikkim regulating online forms, while others like Andhra Pradesh completely outlaw it. So, is jail time a real possibility?
"The response to this will depend upon the State in which a user is located (and accordingly the applicable provisions of the prevailing legislation in that State)," explained Bhalla.
"The rigorous states in India (such as in the State of Assam) prescribe fines and imprisonment for person(s) engaging in betting. On the other hand, the relatively recent statutes (such as the one in Tamil Nadu) provide for the regulation of online platforms offering online games of skill," he added.
The booming popularity of online betting platforms in India has also led to marketing strategies and sponsorship deals with prominent sports teams. Betting sites such as Parimatch sponsor some big clubs, such as Mohun Bagan Football Club. But if it is illegal, how do they manage to operate and lure users to place bets?
"It is only owing to the presence of legal loopholes that betting platforms are allowed to market/advertise their services. The primary legal gap is under The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code). Rules, 2021 which provides for setting up of self-regulatory bodies to analyze and determine whether a particular real money online gaming platform should be allowed to operate in India. Since these self-regulatory bodies have not yet been formed, there isn't any regulatory body in India that is authorized to determine the legality of an online real money gaming platform. It is because of this legal lacuna that betting platforms are marketing their services in a widespread manner," he said.
So, is there a specific law in place for sports betting in India? "While there is no specific legislation in India that specifically deals with sports betting, there are some central and state legislations that govern aspects of betting/gambling (and would encompass sports betting as well).
"While some of these legislations provide for a complete ban, some of them provide for a regulatory mechanism (i.e. permit the operation of a betting platform subject to registration/grant of license).
"For users, it would mean that they would be wary and cautious of whether or not the platform is permitted to operate in a particular state. They should always conduct their due diligence on their part to ensure that they don't engage with a platform which seems suspicious in nature (and could potentially be a scam).
"For companies intending to set up a betting platform, it's best to reach out to a reputed legal firm to get an opinion on the options available to them for the operation of an online real money gambling/gaming platform," he concluded.
End of Article
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