In a bold move, the Indian government has swiftly shuttered access to 22 betting apps and websites, alleging their involvement in illicit operations. This action, prompted by Enforcement Directorate investigations into an underground betting app syndicate, has led to the apprehension of several individuals, including Bhim Singh Yadav of the Chhattisgarh police, facing charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Notably, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has chosen to keep specific details about the affected operators confidential, but it has acknowledged the blocking of Mahadev Book and Reddyannaprestopro.
Amidst these developments, Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar highlighted that the local Chhattisgarh government had the authority to recommend the shutdown but failed to do so. Consequently, MeitY stepped in, underscoring the government’s resolve to combat financial irregularities associated with these activities.
This stringent governmental stance aligns with recent tax reforms in the online gambling sector. Effective October 1st, licensed operators are now subject to a fixed 28% turnover tax covering online gambling, casino operations, and horse betting. Departing from conventional models, this tax is applied to the entire face value of a bet rather than gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Simultaneously, the regulatory landscape is evolving. Super Group, operator of Betway, made the strategic decision to withdraw from the Indian market in response to these tax adjustments.
These actions are part of a broader regulatory initiative unveiled by the Indian government in January, outlining comprehensive rules to govern online gambling. Emphasizing compliance with existing laws, the proposal includes the establishment of self-regulatory bodies comprising online gaming entities. These bodies would be tasked with formulating rules with a focus on player protection, addiction prevention, financial crime deterrence, and safeguarding minors. India, through these measures, is actively working to foster a secure and responsible online gaming environment.