Betting money on sports has been a recreational activity for millennia due to its ability to make sports more exciting for the viewer.
In recent decades, however, the trend has exploded. Sports enthusiasts across the globe are increasingly investing their time and money on betting, and this is being spurred on by the increase in access to the internet, which has made more people able to join an online sports betting site.
This has led to an exponential growth in the global sports betting industry. Analysts predict that the sports betting industry is all set to grow by $144.44 billion USD during the 2020-2024 timeframe, at an annual growth of 11%.
The sports betting industry is constantly evolving. Here in India, we still have a very archaic view of betting. But many other countries have taken a more progressive stance to sports betting.
In this article, we are going to explore some of the countries that have proactively regulated sports betting, and what India can learn from these examples.
The United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is undoubtedly one of the most developed sports betting markets in the world. Betting on sports has been an acceptable and legal pastime on the British Isles for hundreds of years.
The large number of sports betting parlors and active sports betting enthusiasts in the country are a clear indication that residents and the government have embraced sports betting as a mainstream and accepted activity.
The UK remains one of the most liberalised betting jurisdictions in the world, and India is unlikely to follow this example to a T. But there are some countries where online betting is more regulated, while still allowing players the freedom to bet online:
Sports betting has been legalized in South Africa since 1994. The country has a regulated and formalised legal framework for sports betting. Games of skill are allowed in South Africa, but games of luck, such as casino games, remain prohibited to a large extent.
More than 300 physical betting shops exist across South Africa, which is a testament to the enormous interest in sports betting in this wealthy African country. In recent years, the sports betting market in South Africa has increasingly shifted to online sportsbooks.
Sports betting was legalised in Peru beginning in the year 1979. This makes Peru one of the first countries to embrace legalisation on the South American continent.
Following legalisation, several online sportsbooks have emerged in the country, and both locals and tourists are allowed to engage in sports betting, as well as to visit any of the country's glamorous casinos.
The Peruvian authorities tax gambling revenue from both players and operators. This makes gambling a big source of revenue for the government of Peru, and explains why Peru is unlikely to prohibit gambling again anytime soon.
Online betting is legal and regulated in New Zealand by the New Zealand Commission and the department of NZ internal affairs. Online betting sites are currently not allowed to operate in New Zealand. However, residents are free to bet on an online sportsbook based in a different country.
This is somewhat similar to the situation in India where people can legally bet on foreign-based betting sites, however, in New Zealand, players have the added protection that betting is a regulated activity.
The Philippines is the only Asian country on our list, and that is because regulated sports betting is generally very rare in Asia - however, the Philippines is one of the most liberal countries in Asia when it comes to sports betting.
While there are not too many restrictions on sports betting in the Philippines, all gambling providers must be licensed by the local government and pay taxes like any other business. This ensures that sports betting is a structured and profitable endeavour for the government of the Philippines, and a safe and regulated activity for the players.
In our opinion, the Philippines is one of the best examples in the world of a regulated gambling environment that India could look to imitate.
Why Should India Regulate Sports Betting?
The laws concerning sports betting in India are unclear. Some types of betting are legal, while other types are apparently not, and each state has a different set of rules (or lack of rules) that residents must abide by.
This lack of a clear legal environment has led to a number of unfortunate circumstances, such as the rise in illegal underground betting, and a potential rise in problem gamblers around the country.
In the current legal environment, the government of India has no way to curb illegal gambling, no way to know how many people have issues with problem gambling, and no way to help them out of their addiction.
Furthermore, the government of India has no way to benefit from all the gambling that is undoubtedly taking place in India: no way to tax it and no way to regulate that online betting operators are abiding by a clear set of rules.
Therefore, the recommendation of this article is clear: the government of India should regulate online betting. This would benefit both the government itself, the players, as well as the online betting sites.
This article is based on the opinion of MyBetting.in, the biggest source of information about online betting in India.