Last week, Dr. Shashi Tharoor put forward a bill in the Lok Sabah, the lower House of Parliament for India, that would provide for regulations of sports betting and match fixing. Jay Sayta, founder of Indian gambling news site Glaws.in and expert on the Indian gambling industry, recently sat down for an interview with moneycontrol.com to shed more light on what this regulation means for India.
When asked who would benefit from this new bill, Sayta responded “The Bill, if passed, will ensure that competitive sports become cleaner and less prone to rigging or fixing. Thus, it will benefit sports federations, sports fans and the entire sports industry.”
More specifically to gambling, Sayta continued, “Regulation of online sports betting will benefit technology companies that are trying to innovate in this space, it will benefit consumers by ensuring they get a cleaner product and also benefit the government by enabling it to earn huge tax revenue.”
Glaws founder goes on to describe the fractured gambling laws and regulations that have been established by state legislatures, in the absence of serious legislation from the federal government. Most legislation doesn’t account for online gambling and games of skill are exempted from definitions of gambling in most states.
This regulation will help in several ways, Sayta notes. Regulators will be able to monitor suspicious betting trends and investigate suspicious sporting matches for bet fixing. The government will also directly profit, as “it allows betting to be taxed through which the state can earn revenues, rather than leaving the business in the hands of underworld syndicates who are known to launder and channelize profits from cricket betting to other nefarious criminal and terror-related activities.”
There is a tax benefit to India as well. Sayta believes that between INR15 billion to INR20 billion ($214 million to $286 million) is currently being left on the table without proper regulation and taxation. Furthermore, by the bill allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), he expects billions to be invested in the country by excited and experienced foreign operators.
Overall, Sayta doesn’t see any downsides to this bill. The interview closes out with the benefits he sees for the sports industry, as well as the country as a whole. He expects transparency in sports will reduce instances of rigging and fixing, which will bring additional funding and support from global organizations. Increased tax revenue will help the country fund better infrastructure and support athletes. Finally, he expects better regulation can encourage gambling companies to help fund these initiatives.
Sayta is one of the most knowledgably people in the Indian gambling industry, so if Tharoor’s bill has his strong support, it must be pretty good.