Yet Another Attempt At Passing The Blame For Online Gambling Around Instead Pf Working Towards Legal Regulation And Safe Gaming Environment
The 75th Independence Day celebrations in India are underway. A recently published opinion article accuses the British rule of creating the “inescapable death trap” of online gambling.
The British government encouraged gambling in India. People lose money gambling online on games such as rummy. Many people take their own lives after losing money. The eastern state of Tamil Nadu alone had nearly 20 such suicides in the last three years. Indian High Courts and Supreme Court have contributed to the online gaming industry penetrating deep into Indian society. The constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights are a loophole that gaming operators use to “circumvent the law”. India would do well to take into account the recommendations by the Justice K.P. Kothari. He recommended working towards Legal Regulation and Safe Gaming Environment.
Gambling and betting in India has been estimated at $130 billion annually and growing at 7 percent per year. The colonial-era Public Gaming Act, 1867, prohibited most types of gaming and public gaming houses. Online gaming activities have been worth $2.8 billion ($22,500 crores) and are growing by 40 percent a year, but the majority of the turnover is going through illegal channels. A study by psychiatrist Dr Sandip H. Shah found no correlation between online gaming with suicide. India registered its highest ever rate of death by suicide in 2021 at 120 per million people.
There is a rise of suicides in India. India should focus on education on problem gaming and eliminating social stigma towards people with mental, gambling or financial problems. Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the UK, many states in the US, and most lately Peru and Uruguay adopted regulatory frameworks. They revolve around customer protection and responsible gaming. They pay special attention to problem gamers. There is an urgent need to take action on this matter.