Should India Legalize Online Gambling as a Whole?

Technology has turned our world into one where change is the only constant. Day after day, we witness technologies and services appear out of nowhere, often not fitting into the schematics according to which the world has been working before. Sometimes, legislators have trouble fitting these into their tried-and-tested boundaries – this is why Uber, for example, can offer services similar to cab companies, yet not fall under the same laws as the latter (and this is a source of a lot of controversies). Sometimes, governments even fail to tackle services that have appeared a long time ago. One of the best examples would be online gambling, a phenomenon that has emerged over two decades ago, yet it still hasn’t been properly regulated by many countries’ legislatures.

Why is online gambling so popular?

Convenience is perhaps the first on the long list of benefits of gambling online. It’s way easier for someone to navigate to the Royal Vegas website than to travel to a land-based gambling venue. In India, for example, there are only a handful of locations with casinos within reach, which makes it very hard for a passionate player to get hold of his or her favorite games. Playing online at the Royal Vegas, even with no real money involved, is much more convenient and comfortable, not to mention far cheaper than traveling across the country.

This ease of use and convenience makes playing and betting online very popular among players around the world.

Clear regulation

As I mentioned before, governments often find it hard to cope with the quick changes that occur, especially when it comes to technology. After two decades, online gambling still falls under the incidence of laws that are outdated, laws that often don’t cover it at all. Even though India, for example, is a country with many online gambling fans (it is, for example, one of the largest online sports betting markets of Asia), most of the laws regulating the business are either controversial or outdated. The same goes for many countries, where operators are tacitly allowed to offer their services despite not having a legal base to do so. Laws are often in contradiction with each other, which makes the legal climate hard to understand.

As in many other countries, a clear regulation on the matter is needed. On one hand, it would clearly define what types of games are considered of pure chance (like slot machines), and which ones are to be considered games of skill (like poker, which is an official mind sport since the early 2010s). Besides, it would also offer the government far more control over the business, and perhaps help tackle the country’s ongoing issues with illegal betting, estimated to be worth around $30 billion a year.