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As India Mulls Legalising Sports Betting, Here’s How the World Does It

Currently, only betting on horse racing is allowed in India.


Updated:July 6, 2018, 2:45 PM IST
As India Mulls Legalising Sports Betting, Here’s How the World Does It
Representative image (Reuters)

New Delhi: The Law Commission of India on Thursday recommended the legalisation of sports betting in India. According to the Law Commission, the ban on sports betting has not only been “counterproductive”, but has also led to a burgeoning black economy. Currently, only betting on horse racing is allowed in India. If the recommendations are followed by the government, India would follow a list of countries where gambling on sports outcomes is legal.

The United Kingdom

The UK legalised betting in 1961 and has one of the biggest betting industries in the world. According to one report, over 10,000 betting parlours opened up all across the UK within six months of betting being legalised. Betting in the UK is not limited to sports alone. UK betting companies also invite bets on elections, referendums and the royal family. Currently, there are also running bets on whether England will win the ongoing FIFA World Cup, whether the existence of alien life will be proven and whether the next actor to play James Bond will be black. It is estimated that Britons spend close to $19 billion annually on betting.

The United States of America

In 1992, the US Federal Government enacted a ban on sports betting across the country except for four states, which had already passed laws on sports betting. In May this year, adjudicating on a challenge by the State of New Jersey, the US Supreme Court struck down the 1992 law, paving the way for states to formulate their own laws and regulations on whether sports betting would be allowed.


Betting on racing has been legal in Australia since the year 1810, but 170 years later, in 1980, Australia legalised betting on almost all sports. Sports betting in Australia is allowed both in parlours and online.


Sports betting was legalised in Mexico as late as 2004. Football has garnered a massive following in Mexico, which led to demands of betting being legalised. Bets are taken in both Mexican Peso and US dollar and the two biggest sports which see bets are football and baseball.

South Africa

Sports betting in South Africa was legalised in 1994 and is allowed on “most sports”, if not all. Betting on cricket, football and rugby are massively popular among South Africans. This has led to massive job creation and generation of revenue in the developing nation.


Gambling on sports was legalised in Ghana in the year 1960. Ghana allows betting on all professional sports. While there are societal concerns over addiction, overall, sports betting has generated huge revenue and employment for the African nation.


Nigeria legalised sports betting in 2005. Nigerians gamble over $4 billion per year, which generates massive revenue for the country. Betting is allowed on all sports in Nigeria.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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