Like many places around the world, the state of Maharashtra has been hit hard by the recent pandemic. However, in an interesting turn of events, the local government has started to look for ways to boost the economy – the legalisation of online sports betting being one such consideration.
So, how exactly would this affect the local economy of Maharashtra?
What do the betting experts think on the matter?
Shane Hand, Editor-in-Chief & Site Manager at Bet India, it will have a massive positive impact on Maharashtra.
“Around the world, we have seen time and time again how the legalisation of online betting has a huge positive impact, not just economically, but socially too. As fewer people turn to underground bookies and more to licensed betting sites, we will see a drastic decline in match-fixing and police resources and time being wasted. Maharashtra would be making a huge step in the right direction.”
So, how true is this statement? Let’s have a look at some of the main arguments for its legalisation.
It will alleviate the state’s huge debt problem
First and, most obvious is that it will allow Maharashtra to quickly wipe away a large portion of its massive Rs 5.4 lakh crore debt. By allowing people to openly use online betting as a source of entertainment, the state will very quickly go from deep in the red to once again being able to sustain itself.
According to the Times of India, one National Congress Party member mentioned that to stop this illegal activity, it’s best to legalise everything and benefit from the funds of doing so.
“If we impose GST on the transaction, we expect to mobilise at least Rs 2,500 crore from the operators.”
It will eradicate the dangerous underground betting scene
We all know the type – those shady bookies that take people’s’ hard-earned cash and do who-knows-what with it. Like most things that are controlled on a state level, legalisation and regulation is the key to wiping out the black market.
Once the people of Maharashtra are exposed to safer, licensed alternatives, they will never go back to dodgy bookies ever again.
It will pave the way for a new mindset for online betting
This is one of the most important things that it can do for the whole country. If the rest of India sees how successful the legislation has been for Maharashtra, then other states will be much more inclined to legalise it too
Online betting is already technically legal all over the country, but it’s somewhat of a grey area due to severely outdated laws dating back to the 1800s.
Over time, people will become more normalised to betting online and there will no longer be a need to be covert about online betting activities.
But what about the negatives of betting?
You can argue that betting can also lead to negative, anti-social behaviours when people develop a problem with gambling. So, would legalising online betting make this situation even worse?
You can argue that it would make it worse as betting is more widely available to people. But consider these points too:
- Online betting sites have strict responsible gambling procedures in place.
- You can self-exclude at any time on all betting sites.
- You can set betting limits, session limits, loss limits and deposit limits.
- Legalisation will reduce stigma around gambling problems – so people will be more open to seek help.