Chief Minister (CM) of Bhopal, Shivraj Singh Chouhan has confirmed that the government of Madhya Pradesh’s capital has decided to pass a new Gambling Act. The main provisions of which will focus on comprehensive regulations applied to combat online gambling.
The CM highlighted problem gambling as a significant issue, further explaining that the gambling act from 1876 that is currently the prevailing law, does not contain any specific legislation regarding online gambling. This is the driving force behind this regulatory overhaul, which the CM is adamant will make violations of which, heavily punishable.
This is not an issue that stems exclusively from the central Indian state. India is a nation that has very strict laws throughout all jurisdictions, only legalised under strict provision in a handful of states. For the most part gambling is prohibited against disciplinary action.
Legislation in India currently stems from the national Public Gambling Act, 1867, with each state allowed to enact their own regulation and legislation in relation to this, with few exceptions. Madhya Pradesh has its own act from 1876. Despite this, India is a country that generates $60 billion annual from legal and illicit gambling activities. This is no small statistic, especially when taking into account that it is most probable that not even 30% of the Indian population gamble.
Worryingly however, 2 recent studies suggested that at least 38% of gamblers in India are subject to problem gambling. Although these studies still require further epidemiological research, they shed no small amount of light on a highly prevalent problem, especially considering these studies did not take into account illicit activity.
A massively significant proponent of the recent growth in the gambling sector is the prevalence of the internet and the rapidly surging popularity of online gaming. So when discussing problem gambling and the various addictions associated with its negative effects, online gambling is an undeniably important factor.
In lieu of both the problem gambling statistics and the explosive growth of online operations, re-regulation such as the one in Madhya Pradesh is crucial. The socio-economic effects of a failure to acknowledge the numerous means to gamble by the present legislation is a massive oversight that has already begun to develop a culture of intrinsically illicit gambling practices that are either difficult to track or so prevalent it is impossible to enforce the law against.
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