The Cricket World Cup 2023 has gripped the nation in an unyielding fervor, with cricket enthusiasts glued to their screens. However, amidst the roar of the crowds and the excitement on the field, a shadowy industry thrives in the shadows – illegal betting.
India’s Astonishing Betting Figures
A recent report by India Change Forum has unveiled some startling numbers. It’s estimated that over 350 million Indians partake in betting during major cricket events, such as the Indian Premier League. The figures are jaw-dropping. The Indian betting market, a combination of online and offline activities, was valued at a staggering USD 180 billion in 2019.
The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2012 to 2019 was a robust 7%. Unsurprisingly, cricket takes center stage in this arena, with approximately USD 230 million wagered on each Indian cricket one-day international match.
A Global Betting Frenzy
The world of sports betting is on fire globally, valued at a colossal USD 70.23 billion in 2021, with an expected CAGR of 11.7% in the last decade. Several factors contribute to this monumental growth. The rise in digital infrastructure and smartphone usage is propelling the industry into uncharted territories.
Cricket’s Dominance in Betting
Cricket, with its near-religious following in India, reigns supreme in the betting landscape. It’s estimated that a staggering 80% to 90% of sports betting revenues in India come from cricket.
What’s more, the cricket betting industry is on an explosive trajectory, projected to be worth over $2 billion by the end of 2023. During marquee events like the Indian Premier League, the report suggests that over 350 million Indians jump into the betting fray.
The Surge of Online Gambling
While cricket gambling has always had a significant presence in India, the surge in online gambling games has been particularly notable, coinciding with increased mobile and internet penetration.
The report highlights that online gambling experienced a remarkable 40% growth during the COVID-19 lockdown, revealing the industry’s resilience in challenging times.
The Tax Quandary
India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) council imposed a 28% GST on online gaming and betting, sending shockwaves through the industry. The consequences of this new tax policy are alarming. The report raises concerns about the potential rise of illegal offshore betting.
The size of this illegal offshore betting market is estimated at a staggering INR 8,70,000 crores, which equates to nearly 100 billion USD. Post-GST, the market is poised for an alarming annual growth rate of 30%.
A Blow to Legal Betting and Government Revenue
The report warns that this exponential growth in illegal offshore betting will lead to substantial revenue losses for the government. Under the new GST regime, the legal industry is expected to suffer revenue losses each year, resulting in INR 19,01,540 crores for offshore betting and gambling platforms by 2026. This also means a corresponding tax loss of approximately INR 8,50,000 crores for the government.
The Proliferation of Betting and Gambling Sites
Alarming statistics in the report reveal that there are approximately 85 betting and gambling sites targeting Indian citizens. These platforms often employ aggressive promotional campaigns, enticing users with promises of no GST or taxes on winnings.
As India revels in the glory of cricket, the underbelly of illegal betting is a growing beast, one that authorities will need to grapple with to safeguard the integrity of the sport and the nation’s coffers.