India starts groundwork on sports betting legalization

India’s Sports Ministry has begun the groundwork to frame a legislation that legalizes online sports betting in India, The Indian Express reports.

According to a ministry official, informal consultations have already been held with various stakeholders in the government.

The ministry said it is also likely to look to UK’s gambling laws for inspiration.

“The UK has one of the most effective gambling laws. We hope to understand their system and see if it is possible to introduce it in India,” said a ministry official.

However, the spokesman said it may take at least two years for the ministry to prepare a draft.

The ministry said it could address the issue of poor funding for sports by making online betting legal. There are also talks of diverting a sizeable part of the revenue generated from betting towards the ministry’s programmes.

“The UK has overcome this (poor funding) through lottery and online betting. The department is preparing an MoU with the UK and the aspect of betting will be included therein in order to understand the mechanism and evolve a view on the possibility of its introduction in India,” said the ministry in a presentation.

The ministry also said it was aware of the social concerns surrounding the legalization of betting, but said there would be a benefit to the economy and sports overall.