The AIGF announcement, which was confirmed mid-November, comes as a result of years of illegal gambling in the country, not all of it restricted to online activity. However, as online gambling is becoming increasingly prevalent, the AIGF believes this is an issue that now needs to be seriously tackled
With more and more illegal physical operations being busted – Indian police confirmed 500 card games were stopped this October in Bengaluru, Karnataka alone – more and more people appear to be taking their business online, and so the problem of illegal online gambling has been exacerbated.
The AIGF’s Letter
Within its official letter, the AIGF not only highlighted the need to halt foreign operators from digitally crossing Indian borders, but also picked up on nine gambling websites that have ‘specifically’ targeted Indian citizens. The websites include major names in online gambling, such as Betfair and Bet365.
The AIFG believes that by allowing Indian gamblers to place bets, these websites are breaking the law. Currently, betting is not allowed on a national level, despite widespread calls from many individuals and businesses who would like to see India follow the route of the many western countries that have taken a more liberal approach to online gambling.
Serving The National Interest?
The AIGF states that it is not opposed to gambling, but claims that if online gambling is to occur in the country, then India should benefit directly. While this is clearly a rational stance, the AIGF’s letter seems to go somewhat overboard in its condemnation of foreign betting operators.
The letter suggests that any money sent to gambling operators working outside of India’s borders could be funding an ‘array’ of illegal activities, and goes on to state that if gambling with foreign operators is not clamped down on, it could be ‘a significant threat’ to the country. This claim is, however, not further substantiated with the document.
Some states in India, such as Sikkim, are already attempting to use in-store gambling to drive tourism. It is thought that by allowing people to legally bet physically, rather than online, money can be kept inside India, which will subsequently help to bolster the country’s economy. It is unclear, however, whether this is something that will be taken up across more regions in the country.
With regard to the AIGF’s letter, no official response has yet been issued by the office of the Prime Minister, but given that online gambling is an increasingly hot topic in the country, it is likely that he will have to issue a statement on the matter sooner rather than later.