27 May 2021

The Ins and Outs of Online Gambling in India: Laws and Legislation Explained


Needless to say, the online gambling industry has dominated the world by storm. In a nutshell, gaming industries from across the globe are thriving. In particular, the Indian market has experienced significant growth throughout the last couple of years. More and more players are trying their hand out at casino games and just in general experience what the gambling world has to offer.

Whether they’re raising their stakes at floating casinos in India, abroad or online, Indian players have expressed a keen interest in gambling. This is illustrated in some stats and figures; by the end of 2020, the Indian market generated over 90 billion in Indian Rupees.

Whilst all this sounds great, there is one issue that India has been dealing with for years. Even though we are living in 2021, Indian lawmakers still abide by ancient gambling laws, some of which are over 154 years old! So, what does this mean for players and casino operators?

 

With reference to the Indian Constitution, it is stated that all forms of gambling are regulated at state level. In other words, this mean that each Indian state has its own laws and legislations when it comes to gambling, particularly when it comes to online casino games. Needless to say, players and operators aren’t happy about this since it’s severely impacting the industry.

This all boils down to one thing. As mentioned in earlier sections of this post, India remains stuck in the past as far as gambling rules are concerned. A prime example of this is the Public Gaming Act of 1867. This 134 legislative document was published during the British role. Evidently, such documents don’t make sense now that most of us have witnessed the advent of the internet and the continuous developments made in the technological field.

But alas, Indian lawmakers beg to differ. Let’s take a look at some statements in the Public Gaming Act of 1867. For starters, the operation of Indian casinos is strictly prohibited. So, is the assisting and visiting of these venues. On top of that, financial gambling, devices and anything remotely related to gambling is also forbidden. In fact, you can face a ₹200 fine or even face up to 3 months in prison.

The Act also defines gambling into two separate categories – Games of Chance and Games of Skill. The problem with this lies here – one cannot completely class a casino game as a Game of Skill or Chance. This is because certain games have hints of both skill and chance.

At the time of writing, India has identified only 13 card games as games of skill, including rummy and poker. As far as online betting goes, horse racing and cricket betting also fall under this category. Without a doubt, lots of reforms are in order if lawmakers want to see the industry really thrive in the years to come.

 

All this brings us to the main topic of this discussion – online gambling in India. Evidently, there is a dire need for more sensible laws to be imposed. Since lawmakers are still adamant to stick to incredibly archaic laws, this is causing a lot of problems for casino operators who want to set up shop in India.

What’s even more surprising is that all these acts and laws don’t even given an appropriate definition to what online gambling is. As of now, only states like Nagaland, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have chosen to update their anti-gambling policies. On top of that, they have also stated where they stand with online gambling. So far, it’s not good news.

 

Very recently, the state of Andhra Pradesh published its Gaming Ordinance. Initially, casino operators thought this would benefit them, but once again they couldn’t be more wrong. In other words, if you’re an operator, you can rule out the possibility of having online casinos set up in this state for the time being. On top of that, the ordinance has also issued a ban on all online games including games of skill. Of course, casino operators aren’t very happy about this and rightly so. In fact, they plan on appealing this at the Supreme Court.

That said, there is some good news to report here. As of now, the Supreme Court of Andhra Pradesh has stated that games of skill aren’t really linked to gambling and operators who offer these services are allowed to do us under the Indian Constitution.

Still, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows for casino operators who want to offer casino games and services in the country. In fact, operators have had to deal with more acts such as the Information Technology Act of 2000. Given that it’s all about gambling one would think that the government is actually thinking about adequate solutions that would make both parties happy.

But alas, we’re back in square one. This act caused more harm than good as the blocking servers restricted operators from offering their services to Indian players. What’s more, we also have yet another example where no appropriate definition is given to online gambling. Let’s face it, the world is living and breathing gambling at this point. After all the industry is worth billions nowadays – so how can one not explain what online gambling is? The mind boggles.

We understand that lawmakers want to curb the rise of unregulated gambling from dodgy casinos, however, sticking to ancient laws will cause more problems in the long run.

 

 

That said, there is a silver lining. Whilst operators still have to long road ahead of them, players can still enjoy their time online. In fact, you’ll find lots of reputable providers listed on Casinos-india.in. Given that this is an affiliate partner, the games and bonuses are obviously not offered by them. Instead, you are offered trusted offshore casino partners that are legally allowed to offer their services to Indian players.

As you can see, things aren’t so bad for players. That said, there are still some regulations you should keep in mind. Whilst you are required by law to choose an offshore licensed platform, it’s still your safest bet. In this way, you can avoid getting scammed by dodgy providers that still manage to slip through the cracks even though the situation is heavily regulated. Trust us when we say that rogue casinos offer rigged games and you’ll probably never get your winnings. In other words, avoid at all costs.

You can sign up to platforms that clearly state that they are licensed by reputable gaming bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority.

One also has to keep in mind the legal gambling age. In this case, it’s generally 18 and over. However, some online casinos will require to be over 21 years of age. So, make sure you read all the Terms and Conditions carefully when you track down your desired provider. Finally, you can also join an offshore casino if it is Rupee-friendly. You can also avail from alternatives that allow conversions.

 

At this point, it’s fair to say that Indian gambling laws are all over the place. We can only hope that the situation changes over time. At the end of the day, the market and India in general can benefit from the legalizing and regulation of online casinos.

Whilst we acknowledge that there is a problem with unregulated gambling, the right regulations can mark a significant change in the way things are carried out in the country. Strict laws that don’t make sense will not solve anything; on the contrary, these will cause of more uproars by casino operators and in general more confusion. Simply put, the country needs to stick to one legislation that is able to fully regulate and license games of skill. The laws in place can then be supported by further regulations created by gaming bodies.

Given that Indian players are allowed to sign up to offshore platforms, lawmakers should consider making it official in India. In this way, India will get more recognition, whilst players can get a taste of the best online casino games, bonuses and more. Above everything else, they’ll still be signing up to safe and secure platforms that do things by the book.

Of course, a complete reform is needed when it comes to online gambling. That said, some progress has been made. For example, in states like Maharashtra, casino operators and lawmakers are constantly in talks with regard to how they can legalize and regulate online gambling. At this point, nothing is confirmed, but it’s a start.

In the long run, we really think that India can benefit form a regulated market. In fact, some statistics suggest that the country is losing over $140 million per year due to unregulated gambling. This can be solved if both casino operators and lawmakers can come to an agreement on how to offer a licensed and regulated market.

At the time of writing, the growth behind India’s online gambling market is driven by the middle class and the continuous development of the internet and advanced technologies. With a 50% penetration rate, there are 560 million internet users in the country. Needless to say, this is great considering India is in second place after China.

All we’ll say is don’t understatement the Indian market even though it’s one of the smaller ones. Clearly, it’s making it’s mark on the world and it’s very obvious that casino operators and players are keen. Keep in mind that this is something that wasn’t available in the past. Of course, lifestyles became more comfortable over the years. This also meant that people started expressing an interest in different things – online casino is one of them.

Legalizing online casinos will also offer more jobs. Without a doubt, this would be extremely beneficial to India since the country can compete within this competitive market. This can open more doors to more start-up businesses within the e-Commerce and iGaming sectors. On top of that, the Indian economy will also benefit from all this. Other job opportunities can also crop up if this is done properly. Some of these include employment within software development companies and online payments.

At the end of the day, a regulated market will not only put lawmakers’ minds at rest, but it also creates a safe space for players and operators who just want to do things by the book. This can be achieved if one carries out regular audits of casino operators that have been approved and regulated by the government.

This is the only way that the situation can be monitored and one is able to distinguish a good casino from a bad one.

Without a doubt, the interest in the online gambling world won’t be dying away any time soon. So let’s hope Indian lawmakers can get on board with more adequate regulations that make sense in this day and age.

 

 

With UEFA and football fans breathing a sigh of relief that EURO 2020 is finally to be held this summer, will UK bookmakers be celebrating too come July?

 

The coronavirus pandemic has proved a disruption to every walk of life in the UK. Successive lockdowns, closed schools, homeworking, and furlough schemes have changed the entire country over the past 12 months.

And for sports fans and online bookmakers, the past year has been equally disruptive. 2020 should have been a bumper year for Britain’s bookies. Instead, many of the bookmakers’ most active markets were either curtailed or wiped completely from the calendar.

The English Premier League was suspended – although it eventually came to a spluttering end just before the summer – while Wimbledon was cancelled and the Grand National went virtual. By the time of the first national lockdown, gamblers were resorting to betting on the only football around – Asian Handicaps featuring actual Asian teams, and the far reaches of the Belarus Premier League.

In fact, total tax receipts for the period April 2020 to March 2021 came to “just” £2.83bn. That marked a staggering drop of £182m – or 6% – compared to the previous year.

But it was the cancellation of EURO 2020 that really hit bookies hard. Major football events are normally huge cash cows for online bookmakers. And 2020 was due to be an even bigger betting bonanza for the betting sites: Scotland had qualified for their first major tournament in over 20 years, while for England EURO 2020 would have been as close to a home tournament as they had seen since EURO 1996.

Betting companies recovered as 2020 came to a close. Most players migrated online as the continuing closure of retail betting shops and casinos continued. Indeed, poker activity and online casino gameplay helped to soften the blow.

But nothing compares to a major football tournament to turn around betting sites’ fortunes. At the last big footballing festival – the 2018 World Cup – over €136bn in bets were taken by the bookies.

And with EURO 2020 being held across multiple countries, including England, UK bookies will be looking forward to a release of cash from gamblers itching to put their bankrolls and footie knowledge to good use.

England will play all of their group games at Wembley, as well as a potential semi-final and final – if they make it that far. The better Gareth Southgate’s team does, the more money will be flowing through the UK bookies’ coffers. Simply put, England have a very real chance of winning their first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup. And that could translate into a big payday for the bookmakers.

To take advantage of an expected bumper EURO 2020, major brands will have exclusive offers and promos for the event. The tournament starts on June 11 but we already know the 24 teams taking part. And if the 2018 World Cup is anything to go by, bookies will be going all out with a raft of special deals.

England specials will almost certainly be on the table. Money back on losing England bets may be offered, as well as enhanced odds on the team’s home games. New players will also be able to claim free bets when they open their accounts.

Despite a year of betting shop closures and delayed or cancelled sporting events, the UK sports betting industry rode the storm well. Revenues at the big betting companies like William Hill and Sky held firm.

In the case of the Sky Betting and Gaming Group (SBG), online sports betting revenue actually increased by 26%. New player acquisitions and more customers betting online seems to have helped companies weather the COVID-19 storm.

But assuming a good EURO 2020, what lies in store for the UK bookmakers? There is a review of the 2005 Gambling Act which may see some of the bookies’ powers scaled back.

Affordability checks are a definite possibility, and an ombudsman may come in to force betting forms to reduce stakes where needed. In addition, visible gambling advertising on football shirts may become a thing of the past. Indeed, more and more football clubs are terminating deals with shirt sponsors from the gambling industry.

For now, the betting companies will be concerned with the success of EURO 2020. And with football punters promised a first bonanza of football since the 2018 World Cup, expect a similar bonanza on the bookmakers’ sites.

Multi-brand platform welcomes acclaimed new member to high-profile list

Leading gaming and sports betting partner GAMING1 has added the prominent French operator JOABET to its renowned affiliate program.

The hugely popular sportsbook and casino, which is regulated through ARJEL and recently underwent a full-scale rebrand, offers punters unrivalled welcome promotions, including refunds for their first bet to the value of €100.

Joining GAMING1’s state-of-the-art affiliate program allows JOABET to benefit from flexible and modular reward plans, round the clock customer support and an advanced omni-channel marketing tool.

GAMING1’s latest agreement further strengthens its leading position within the French market and beyond, as the company continues to extend its reach across a global range of regulated territories spanning both Europe and Latin America.

Commenting on the deal, Sylvain Boniver, COO & Co-Founder at GAMING1, said: “Powering JOABET’S cutting-edge rebrand was a fantastic step for us, and we are delighted to take our partnership to the next level by welcoming the operator into our affiliate program.

“We have no doubt that the company will rapidly experience the myriad benefits of the program, which provides invaluable assistance to brands looking to reach new audiences.”

A spokesperson at JOABET added: “We are thrilled to join GAMING1’s multi-brand affiliate program, in a deal enabling us to benefit from the brilliant range of marketing tools and services which it offers.

“The move will prove essential to our ongoing expansion, expanding our appeal to an even wider range of customers. Working with GAMING1’s talented team has been a real pleasure, and we look forward to maintaining our partnership.”

Regarded as one of Belgium and France’s foremost suppliers, GAMING1 has proven key to JOABET’s operations since first partnering together three years ago.

Dedicated to providing an unmatched entertainment experience for its players, it currently operates within Belgium, Portugal, Spain, Romania, Switzerland, Colombia and MGA market.

 

Catena Media plc, an industry leader in online lead generation, has acquired 100 percent of the shares in Lineups.com, strengthening Catena Media’s leading position in the growing US betting market. Lineups.com is an online sports affiliation company specialising in analytics, betting predictions and tools. The total purchase price amounts to USD 39.6 million, payable in cash in three instalments during a two-year period. An additional contingent cash payment of USD 0.5 million is payable if certain requirements are fulfilled within three years of the transaction date.

Lineups.com supports bettors by providing confirmed and projected starting lineups and rosters for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, US sports leagues and for fantasy sports. The website considers all kinds of available player and team information, including injuries, news, performance and trends. Lineups.com has a strong market position in most of the regulated US states, including the recently launched states of Michigan and Virginia.

Lineups.com recorded sales of approximately USD 7.5 million in the last 12 months to 30 April 2021. Calculated for the first quarter of 2021, the company’s sales corresponded to roughly 10 percent of Catena Media’s total revenue. As Lineups.com is a sports-focused affiliation product, its sales can be expected to fluctuate significantly with the US sports betting calendar.

The purchase price represents a total cash payment of USD 39.6 million, to be payable in three instalments: USD 25 million on closing, USD 9.6 million on the first anniversary and USD 5 million on the second anniversary of the closing date. In addition, a contingent cash payment of USD 0.5 million will be due if the state of New York allows sports betting within three years of the closing date and certain revenue thresholds are met. No material conditions exist in respect of the transaction’s closure. The acquisition will have a direct positive effect on Catena Media’s EBITDA as of the consolidation date on 4 May 2021.

Michael Daly, CEO Catena Media, commented: “The acquisition of Lineups.com strengthens Catena Media’s leading position in the growing US betting market with a complementary product that fits perfectly into our existing US portfolio. It gives us a second, even stronger, national sports betting affiliation site, alongside thelines.com. This will allow us to capture more market share across North America, as well as to take advantage of shared tools across multiple Catena Media sites. Sam Shefrin, the seller and founder of Lineups.com, will bring his industry and technology focus to the Catena Media team and will work with us for the near future as an exclusive consultant to the business.”
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