Las Vegas, Macau, Atlantic City, Bahamas, Monte-Carlo, Sun City, whenever we hear names of these cities, the first thing that comes into our mind is the famous night life of these cities, which includes gambling. It is gambling which makes these cities special worldwide. There is a very popular slogan “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Tells us why Vegas is on top of other gambling spots. From these spots, governments are earning a lot of taxes. Also, tourists are attracted towards these places.
In India, gambling is strictly prohibited. Only two states allow gambling, Goa and Sikkim. There is one casino in Sikkim and 12 in Goa. Apart from these, illegal gambling is going on throughout the country. Other than lotteries, legal gambling in India is limited to betting on horse racing. Indian gambling market is estimated to be around USD 60 billion per year, out of which half comes from illegal betting.
Questions are always raised, why betting in India is not legalized. US, UK, Australia, France, and South Africa, all of these nations have legalized and regulated gambling. In China, gambling is not allowed. But, they have made Macau, a special administrative region, along with Hong Kong. Macau in the present time is the hottest destination for Gambling. These nations are regulating gambling and on an average earning 1% of their GDP by betting. By that India could earn almost 620 billion INR.
Whenever someone asks what is wrong in legalizing gambling, the answer always moves around these stories, gambling away a family’s savings reducing it to penury. As impressive this argument sounds, the truth is this argument is for unchecked gambling. If the sector is legalized, at least these cases could be minimised by regulations. The main reason why India is not legalizing gambling, comes from the fact that those illegal gambling which is going on behind the scene will be stopped. Then they have to pay taxes to the government for betting. A large amount of black money would have to be shown on paper. Also, as the gambling will be legal, there will be no one who would go to gamble in illegal places. The power of those circles is stopping the government to legalize gambling.
With this large amount of black money moving underground, with criminal minded people involved. Some serious risk is involved like large part of it may be finding its way to terrorists or drug mafia. At least the chain will be in full check after legalization. Remember, when finance ministry advised banks to ask the customer to fill PAN number on the deposit form for amounts greater than INR 50,000, what was the consequence. Also, how VAT tax code has stopped the irregularities in retail business. The same could be expected with gambling sector.
No one could deny that prohibition stops from using prohibited thing. Sometimes we see bigger and bitter consequences. Like death of a lot of people in Gujarat by low quality alcohol. It makes sense to take betting and gambling out of the illegal nooks and crannies in the underground and make it a legitimate, regulated tax-paying business.