Why Is Betting on Cricket Still Not Allowed in India?

April 29, 2022
Mark Patrickson

Cricket, for many people in India, is bordering on religious status. Think football in the United Kingdom for a minute, and then understand that even this obsession doesn’t even come close to what cricket is for Indian fans.

So why is betting on cricket still illegal throughout India today? No doubt there are many millions in the country still wondering. After all, there are still plenty of grey market options available; a search for parimatch India review will reveal just how good many of these are.

The Rise of Sports Betting

The world of sports betting has grown exponentially over the last decade, particularly online. The number of options available grows on an almost daily basis. And yet, many countries are still resistant to this change, refusing to allow adults to make a free choice for themselves.

The dangers of problem gambling are well-known but the industry is now far more on top of regulation to protect the vulnerable than it was even a few years ago.

Today there are offshore betting sites servicing many of the 400 million Indians who watch sport every year, but nothing within the country itself except for those who offer odds on horse racing.

Resisting Change

What makes the current situation almost laughable, is that the entire country, and certainly all of the politicians, are aware of the underground cricket betting scene and yet no powerful voice has emerged to suggest regulating and taxing what would be a multi-billion dollar industry.

In a fast-developing nation such as India, this money could be put to good use in many different ways.

Every year, underground bookies in India play the same cat and mouse game where they relocate to out-of-the-way small towns and set up new phone accounts in the names of their customers. Here they take bets for major cricket series and rake in the cash without ever having to pay a penny in tax.

Even the police are saying anonymously that legalisation is the only way forward as they stand next to no chance of catching the dodgy bookmakers.

Match-Fixing Scandals

Another possible reason why cricket betting is still not legal in India is the high number of match-fixing scandals that have plagued the game over the last couple of decades. Cricket is a game that more easily lends itself to individual players being able to manipulate play in order to cash in on illicit bets.

Taxed to Death

As good as raking in the tax from a legalised cricket betting industry sounds, it turns out that not all is sunshine and puppies with the idea.

Betting on horse racing at race clubs did bring in plenty of legitimate tax income but the extortionate rate is driving many customers back to the underground bookies. The Royal Western India Turf Club, the biggest race club in India, takes almost 30% as commission from customers’ winnings.

Starting around 2013, there was as much as a 50% increase in betting on horse races with underground bookies over a three-year period. Jaydev Mody, chairman of Delta Corp, which runs two casinos in Goa, claims that a regular tax rate of 4-5% would easily ensure 95% compliance with the law.

For now, though, it looks as if the ban on cricket betting in India is here to stay.

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