Legal online sports betting could be coming to the state of Maharashtra as the state government is planning to work on getting the industry into the mainstream arena.
An unidentified National Congress Party minister from Maharashtra had mentioned earlier that the local government was reviewing a report which had detailed information about the impact of legalizing online betting and other forms of gambling. The state government has decided to establish a task force and have resorted to these measures since the state’s financial taps have started to run dry due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic impact.
The task force will be considering the obstacles to legalizing and regulating online gambling. They will also consider the online gambling market in the state of Sikkim. Sikkim’s online betting market consists entirely of betting via terminals in retail shops. The state later tightened these rules even further to restrict betting to out-of-state tourists only, leaving local residents on the outside.
It has been noted that during the end of August, the state had a revenue shortfall of over INR 61, 000 crores due to the pandemic. This isn’t the first time that Maharashtra state government has publicly mused about legalizing online gambling. In the year 2018, the state government had planned to legalize online gambling but to no avail as it was not initiated in the state then too.
India’s gambling rules are wildly inconsistent between different states. The disparity in gambling laws has put pressure on India’s central government to introduce a national regulatory framework for gambling that will help modify the existing laws. The Law Commission of India (LCI) had issued a report in 2018 itself urging the government to approve laws and legalize gambling and betting with certain consumer protections.
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