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“Last Untapped Market”: Will India reach its betting potential?

Jaydeep Chakravartty, Ingenuity Gaming

With a population of 1.3 billion and a GDP of $2.4 trillion (dwarfing that of Brazil, Canada and Russia amongst others), describing India as an ‘emerging market’ is something of an understatement.

As things stand, gambling in the vast South Asian nation is heavily restricted, other than selective categories such as lotteries and horse racing. The model is similar to the US, with individual states possessing the right to license and regulate.

However, a recent 145-page report from the Law Commission of India (LCI) has recommended the licensing and regulating of gambling across the country, as a way of curbing the rise of online betting activity.

“Some unconfirmed reports have put the gambling market in India at $150 billion per year. Most of this is illegal gambling, and is controlled by the crime syndicates and does not generate any revenue for the government,” explained Jaydeep Chakravartty, Commercial Director of Ingenuity Gaming.

“By legalising sports betting in India, the government of the day can earn revenue, stop illegal gambling and also generate new jobs. It will be very difficult to put a number on how many jobs can be created by legalizing sports betting in India, however, to put things in perspective, one of the existing lottery operators, which has businesses in many states in India, has created 300,000+ jobs in one state alone.

“Their yearly revenue is in excess of $2 billion (from one state) and they have given $500 million as tax to one state government alone. With the data we have in hand, I think the areas of job creation and revenue generation will get a big boost by legalising sports betting in India.”

Chakravartty is set to host a Roundtable discussion at the forthcoming Betting on Sports event, where he plans to delve into the complex world of sports betting in India. Despite describing it as “probably the last untapped market”, he remains doubtful that the floodgate effect will occur anytime soon.

“I am sure that the market will open up eventually, however, it will be anybody’s guess on when that will be. Also, I do strongly feel that India will also follow the USA route where the market will get legalised through the states and not at the federal/central level.

“Every market is different and it’s the attention to local details that will help any company to succeed in India. International gaming companies should explore the Indian market and understand the requirements and be ready to enter when the market opens up.”

Jaydeep Chakravartty hosts a Roundtable entitled ‘Regulating Sports Betting in India’ from 12.50-14.10 on Day 2 of #bosweek. Access the full agenda here.

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