Home Cricket Religious Leaders Speak Out On Gambling Regulation in India – CricIndeed

Religious Leaders Speak Out On Gambling Regulation in India – CricIndeed

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A religious leader in India’s Meghalaya state is voicing concerns over the prospect of gambling regulation – citing adverse effects on society as one of the reasons why regional governmental officials should think twice. 

Synsharlang Kharshiing, the secretary of the Meghalaya United Christian Forum (MUCF), said in an interview

“The bigger question is whether people are willing to pay the price, and are they ready to bear the repercussions of such an endeavour on the society at large?” 

“The leaders and the government functionaries of the state should deeply introspect before jumping head-on with excitement without considering the destruction it may cause to the present and future generations.”

Does Mr Kharshiing’s hypothesis stand up to scrutiny? Should the conflict between conservatism and progressive values hinder the development of such a profitable business opportunity? What are the benefits of full regulation? 

Why Is Mr Kharshiing Mistaken In His Dogmatic Generalisation? 

The concerns surrounding the regulation of online gambling in India may be legitimate but are naive when you analyse the current state of play in the country. 

Illegal gambling is one of the most regular pastimes of Indian citizens. For example, when the Indian national cricket team plays a One Day International, more than $200 million changes hands via unregulated means. That means thousands turn to unsafe, black-market online betting sites or dangerous land-based gaming rings to place their bets. 

Indeed, the public perception of betting in India is turning – partly thanks to the integration of fantasy sports apps. Online betting has never been more popular – and yet it remains illegal in vast swathes of the country. 

The argument on behalf of industry insiders is simple. If the government refuses to liberalise the market, it drives generations to a much more uncertain and dangerous future in the shape of illegal betting rings. 

How Can Regulation Prevent Harmful Addiction Issues? 

Were the online casino industry in India to come under the control of the government via a sector-wide authority, licenses would be introduced. To attain a license, an online betting site would have to adhere to certain guidleines or risk losing the right to provide gambling services. 

A license would require the operator to prove they can offer safe and responsible gambling services. Examples of which include:

  • Deposit limits. A player must set a predefined limit of what they can afford to deposit daily, weekly, or monthly. 
  • Loss limits. A player can only lose a certain amount daily, weekly, or monthly. Once over the loss limit, a player cannot play any further. 
  • Time Out facilities. Players can exclude themselves from playing at a site for a set amount of time. 

Other requirements of a license can include Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols. Players must prove they can afford the amount they are playing at an online gambling site by providing payslips and proof of work. Although quite invasive, this is a standard practice among all mature gambling licenses, including the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA). 

What Do The Industry Experts Say? 

Gambling industry leaders ENV Media believe the societal benefits far outweigh the negatives. 

In a paper titled Off-Shore Gambling Licenses and Regulated Markets, ENV Media surmises:

“National jurisdictions have two choices essentially – rein in online gambling for the benefit of consumers and exchequers; or engage in an endless pursuit with black markets and offshore licenses.”

India is a particularly emblematic case of similarly impending regulatory needs. The prohibition of betting is widely seen to have been ineffective.”

“As a recent publication points out, the key reasons to regulate the gambling market aim to transform risks and missed opportunities in public benefits and a better-controlled environment:

  • An important existing industry is exposed to risks;
  • The public interest has much to gain from taxes, consumer protection, and job creation;
  • Sector transparency will stimulate stable investor interest;
  • The ability to eliminate undesirable effects is enhanced by supervisory agencies, monitoring tools, and information campaigns.”
Buvanesh Thiraviam - writer in Cricindeed

A Cricket Blogger | Blogs at Cricindeed.com

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