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India Offers Huge Untapped Market Of Online Gamblers

A recent study by an online casino portal found that India could generate up to $1.5 billion in tax revenue by legalizing online gambling.

India is experiencing rising wealth, including a middle class that is enjoying a higher standard of living. Along with that comes an increase in Internet usage, with many Indians finding their way to online gambling sites. Although gambling is heavily restricted in India, it is not stopping punters from wagering online.

The current gambling law in India is somewhat vague and undefined. Legislators enacted the Federal Information Technology Act in May of 2011 in an attempt to curtail online gambling. The law ‘s intent is to put the burden of prohibiting access to offshore gambling sites on Internet service providers. The site operators–not Indian residents–are the ones subject to possible prosecution from Indian authorities. But the laws are seen as unenforceable because the gambling sites are not on Indian soil and out of jurisdiction.

The study, which was done by, found that a regulated online gambling market in India may be worth up to $5 billion annually, with 15-30% of that being lost by the country based on tax figures in regions where online gambling regulation is prolific. The study also indicated that those numbers are expected to increase over time as more Indians join the burgeoning middle class.

The popularity of poker is rising in India, spawned by televised broadcasts of the World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker events. There is a live tournament, known as the India Poker Championship, held every month aboard a riverboat casino in Panjim, Goa, that features buy-ins in the range of 5,000 to 25,000 rupee. About $100 to $450 in U.S. dollars, far too low to attract world-class players and international attention. However, not bad for a country that still allows casino gambling in only two states.




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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.