The Popularity of Online Betting in India is ‘Taking Off’

Betting on cricket in India has skyrocketed over the last few years. In theory, betting on any sport in India is a grey-zone, but one which is so close to the nation’s heart has raised a few eyebrows. With plenty of leading sportsbooks eager to offer their services to Indian players and make a few bucks in return. One only must look at the figures (and we will do) to see how popular cricket betting has become in India. With that said, let’s start exploring how it all works.

The Official Figures Are Telling

According to the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), India’s betting industry is worth around Rs 3,00,000 crore, or $43.27 billion. For those who want a comparison, it is worth more than the total amount spent by the Indian Government on their defence budget. While those figures do not exclusively belong to cricket betting, one would imagine that a decent chunk of that goes to betting on the nation’s favourite sport. To back that up, there is evidence that suggests that at least Rs 149 crore was spent on a single warm-up match between India and Bangladesh.

How Legal is Betting in India

Betting on sports (or any form of online gambling in India) falls into something of a grey zone. India’s gambling laws generally deal with land-based based betting, as they were written over a hundred years ago. The gambling act in the country does not explicitly mention online betting, which is hardly surprised. The consensus is that each Indian state has the authority to make up its own laws. A general law prohibiting illegal online activity (known as the IT Act) was passed in 2000, but at no point does it specifically mention that online betting is forbidden. This presents an unusual situation for Indian bettors.

In theory, Sikkim is the only state where online betting on cricket and sports is legal. They passed their own gambling regulations in 2009. By contrast, Delhi and Maharashtra have made online gambling illegal. The Indian police don’t have the authority or any legislation which would permit them to prosecute individual Indians betting on cricket. However, they do go out of their way to bust cricket betting rackets.

The Rise in Online Cricket Betting

One of the reasons why cricket betting online has become so prevalent is that offshore operators provide their services to players in the country. Officially, there are precious few Indian sportsbooks and online casinos, as only a handful of states hand out gambling licenses. Very few of those are based in India. If they were, they could fall under the jurisdiction of the general anti-gambling laws in the country. However, those laws do not apply to offshore casinos and sportsbooks, which is where most Indians place their cricket bets.

These offshore betting sites are often very legitimate websites, being licensed and regulated out of reputable jurisdictions, such as Malta and the United Kingdom. These safe and secure internet betting sites neither fall foul of Indians gambling laws or within them, as they operate in that grey area we mentioned earlier. Click here to see the best betting sites in India.

A country which has a population of over a billion people (and a gambling revenue of $43-plus billion) is always going to attract online bookies. To make their operations as appealing as possible to Indian players, some offer gameplay in Hindi, and others provide Indian payment methods and the Indian rupee (INR) currency option. Others even have special promotions aimed at players in the country. All, though, offer cricket betting.

Betting on Cricket in India

Of course, targeting a large audience such as India means that cricket bets must be front and centre of these sportsbooks’ services. On top of that, the sportsbooks must also have markets which Indian players will find appealing, and many of them do. Amongst the competitions which you can regularly wager on at Indian betting sites are:

  • IPL (Indian Premier League)

  • Warm-Ups and Test Matches

  • ICC Cricket World Cup

  • Women’s Cricket World Cup

  • ICC Champions Trophy

  • ICC World Twenty20

  • As well as other global cricket leagues and competitions, such as those from the UK, Bangladesh, South Africa, Australia and the West Indies.

As well as covering a multitude of cricket competitions, these online sportsbooks also provide lots of different betting options. Match betting, tied matches, series wins, and outright winners represent some of the more basic cricket bets you can find.

Indian cricket betting sites will also offer proposition bets. These can include winning toss bets, toss combinations, odd and even run scores, first innings scores, match scores, overs and unders, team innings runs, series scores, partnerships, most match sixes, total fours, most run-outs and highest first 15 overs. You could even choose to have a stab at player props. Notable options include the top batsman and his team, top bowlers, individual bowlers and series wickets, the man of the match, batsman matches, top 50 score runs, centuries and player performances.

In-play betting is slowly coming to the Indian cricket betting market, too. Placing live, in-play bets on batsman runs, the number of runs off the next ball, the method of dismissal and overs and unders are part and parcel of this. With so many ways to have a punt on the cricket, it is no surprise that Indian cricket betting is a booming industry.

Will Things Change in the Future?

For the time being, India looks set to continue its role as the world’s number one country when it comes to online cricket betting. No other country can match the sub-continent in terms of the number of wagers on the famous game.  Only the introduction of anti-gambling laws at either state or national levels would change that. However, for the moment, everybody seems happy with the status quo. Of course, should cricket betting reach such dizzy heights that it leads to corruption and match-fixing (as has been alleged on more than one occasion), changes may come. For now, though, Indian players have a wealth of cricket betting sites open to them.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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