Trends

Cricket regulators look to online betting sites for the next phase of Indian cricket: gambling remains a taboo subject, but it’s changing.

The roaring success of IPL’s stilted return has brought joy to many Indian cricket fans in the wake of a difficult couple of years for the country and the sport alike.

Despite the ill effects of covid, the Indian Premier League has had enduring success. In many ways it looks to be the archetypal form of organisation to propel forward Indian cricket in its franchise-based format. It has seen its popularity skyrocket globally in the course of just a few short campaigns.

Although the IPL reported a temporary drop in viewership back in the first weeks of 2020 a total of 268 million viewers tuned in globally to watch the opening matches of last season’s iteration of the world’s most popular cricket tournament.

Tapping in at home and abroad cricket

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Aside from ODIs, the IPL remains the only home-grown cricket event to encompass demand domestically and abroad. The crowning of a new champion in Chennai Super Kings who recently defeated Kolkata Knight Riders has proven that renewed competitiveness in the tournament will seek to bolster success.

Despite the economy being in the throes of a covid induced malaise, the IPL auction some months ago saw record figures being laid out, a potential testament to the financial clout of the franchise itself.

The BCCI have successfully reorganised a tournament two years on the run with an effective move to the Middle East where regulations around sporting events have been considerably more lax. It therefore stands to reason that their ability to propel the commercial success of the franchise remains obvious.

If cricket regulators in India can hit the right notes there is no reason why Indian cricket across the landscape of the sport cannot use the IPL as the sounding board for greater cooperation and increased financial benefit at home. Drawing in global revenue to be redeployed in Indian sport would be preferential.

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Legislation brings taxation

Although across many walks of life gambling remains a taboo subject, more and more Indians, particularly young males, are having their heads turned to the world of online betting. Online betting currently operates in a legal grey area of Indian federal law that has seen many offshore, international operators develop market leading sportsbooks and betting sites for Indians to fill the niche in the market. With many of these operators expanding their services to cater for an increasing number of Indian players, and with more appearing on the scene every year, it stands to reason that demand is there at the source.

International expertise meets homegrown markets

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Expertise and trust of established online operators is therefore paramount if Indian cricket is to tap into the fervour at ground level to help propel the sport forward. As it stands, Indians utilising betting sites based outside of the country represent a lost form of income for the state. Money earned in India and spent abroad is not only allowed to leave, but the lack of taxation means foreign interests stand to gain, while revenue that could remain in-country seeks to line someone else’s pockets.

If cricket regulators can utilise the popularity of the sport and the sharp increase in online betting can be redirected back into cricket at grass roots level and above, the potential benefits for Indian cricket abound throughout the various levels of the sporting pyramid.

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