Eventus International hosts successful Sports Betting & Gaming India conference

South Africa based Eventus International hosted a successful and well attended two-day event, Sports Betting and Gaming India (SBGI) conference on 27th and 28th February at the Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa.

The event started with a house-full of more than 150 attendees on Day 1. Tim Shepherd, co-founder of Silver Heritage Group started the event by making a presentation on the global gaming industry, growth in demand from India’s burgeoning middle class and how can one can capitalise on the Indian market.

This was followed by three panel discussion with key discussions on the gambling and betting in sports legalisation in India, casinos of India and future of lotteries in India, which all had eminent panelists like William Howie (Betradar), Ranjana Adhikari (Nishith Desai Associates), Susan O’Leary (Alderney eGambling), Vidushpat Singhania (Krida Legal), Manoj Jain (Deltin Group), Vaibhav Gaggar (Gaggar & Associates), Felix Mukaxe (Mozambique Gambling Board), Geaspar Byrne (Lottoland Solutions), Ratul Sethi (Golden Gaming), Jay Sayta (Glaws), Kit Szybala (Global Market Advisors) etc.

There were presentations on important topics like analytics from Andrew Pearson (Intelligencia Limited), on sports integrity and responsible gaming from Kevin Carpenter and Nandan Kamath (LawNK) respectively. The day ended on high spirits with a poker tournament at Deltin Royale.

Day 2 kicked off with a presentation by Christina Thakor-Rankin (1710 Gaming) on the key growth markets and opportunities in India, followed by a joint presentation from AIGF, which was followed by a factual presentation of DFS by Harsh Jain CEO of Dream 11. The rest of Day 2 was followed by four panel discussions concentrating on fantasy sports, mobile gaming, poker & rummy in India, horse racing and e-sports in India.

Commenting on the conference, Yudi Soetjiptadi, the Managing Director of Eventus International said, “India is definitely the next big thing, with an online gambling being estimated worth as much as 1.5 billion USD but could rise to as much as 4.6 billion USD – or more – in the years to come, it’s time for a change. Regulating online gambling would create jobs, bring in foreign investment, open up a new source of tax income, and protect consumers to the risks of an unregulated market and deployment of responsible gambling awareness campaign.

The summit was initiated to create awareness about betting integrity, and we had great support from the industry. Everyone present was eager to make it work for the future of gaming industry in India. Eventus role has always been to create the platform for various gaming industry stakeholders to network and share ideas. We have succeeded in delivering that in Goa recently as the feedback from participants was very encouraging. In conclusion, the event was a huge success to us and the industry and we look forward to hosting it again next year!”

Eventus International has announced that the India conference, now re-branded as Strategic Platform for iGaming Conference & Exhibition (SPICE) India,  would be held again next year, on 26th and 27th February, 2019.

Legal & Regulatory

PIL in Supreme Court asks for SIT probe into match-fixing and betting in cricket matches

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court by retired bureaucrat Atul Kumar and journalist Shantanu Guha Ray seeking a probe into match-fixing and manipulation of cricket matches and rampant illegal betting, as per a report in legal news website Bar & Bench.

The petition, placing reliance on various news reports, statements by former cricketers, administrators and journalists alleges that the outcomes of most cricket matches are manipulated and fixed to benefit the massive illegal betting industry, the annual turnover of which they peg to be in the range of Rs. 7-8 lakh crore.

The petition contends that the illegal betting racket in India is controlled by the underworld mafia and fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. It further states that the massive transfer of funds for illegal betting is a risk to national and economic security.

The petitioners in their pray ask for a comprehensive Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the alleged ‘public fraud in the name of cricket’. The petition also asks for staying IPL and other domestic and international cricket matches until the fraud and illegalities plaguing the game of cricket (including the alleged match-fixing and betting rackets) are unearthed and those perpetrating criminal activities are brought to book.

A 3-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices DY Chandrachud and AM Khanwilkar heard the matter on 2nd February and ordered a copy of the petition to be served to the central government so that the appropriate central agency can assist the court. The matter is now slated to be listed for hearing on 16th February, 2018.

Interestingly, a PIL to legalise and regulate cricket betting filed by Delhi resident Geeta Rani is pending before the same three judge bench of the Supreme Court since April last year. The Supreme Court had on 28th April, 2017 asked that the matter be tagged with the ongoing petition concerning various wide-ranging reforms in the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Industry body All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has also filed an intervention application in Geeta Rani’s petition, endorsing the demand that cricket betting be regulated and permitted as a game of skill. However, the Supreme Court has not heard the matter yet and has not passed any specific order on the issue. The Supreme Court is expected to hear the PIL and AIGF’s intervention application on 23rd February, 2018.


Eventus International to host Sports Betting & Gaming India conference in February 2018

Eventus International is hosting the Sports Betting & Gaming India Conference (SBGI) on 27th and 28th February 2018 in Goa, India. The two-day event promises to have a busy conference and engaging schedule as well as an outstanding panel of industry experts and speakers.

Gambling in India is heavily restricted and the SGBI panel of experts and speakers will evaluate both the potential and the possible impact of legalized gambling in the country. The Indian government’s willingness to consider and clarify gambling legislation provides the ideal background against which the conference speakers and delegates will discuss a wide range of topics and issues – ranging from anti money laundering strategies to the challenges and opportunities that come with eSports.

Day one of the conference proceedings will see a keynote address delivered by Tim Shepherd, founder of Silver Heritage. The topic of the address is ‘Show me the money: How the global gaming industry is responding to the liberalisation of gambling regulations and how can you capitalise’.

From here, the dialogue will move to the latest developments in Indian regulation and the onset of GST in India. The question on everybody’s mind, whether GST will be a game changer in the sports betting and gaming industry in India, will be thoroughly dissected and interrogated.

Two panel discussions will further explore the current legal scenario of gambling in India, as well as the conventional status of lotteries and more innovative measures for it to grow.

The second day keynote address will be delivered by Christina Thakor – Rankin, Principal Consultant at 1710 Gaming.  Christina will discuss key growth markets and opportunities in India, including lottery, sports betting, land based, and online gaming, and how to foster further growth. Roland Landers, CEO of All India Gaming Federation will deliver additional remarks.

Security, payments, and data protection topics are also on the conference menu, as is practical solutions to retain player confidence, preventing data leakage, match-fixing, and the inevitability of sports betting.

The final panel discussion of the conference will focus on the growth potential (and restrictions) for casinos and the scope for new players entering the Indian market.

Full details about the event are available here.

Legal & Regulatory

Law Commission of India exploring the feasibility of legalising sports betting

The Law Commission of India, a body that advises the government is examining gambling and betting related legislations. The Commission is also said to be discussing whether sports betting should be legalised in India. Justice (retired) Balbir Singh Chauhan, Chairman of the Law Commission told Hindustan Times that they are examining all legal aspects concerning betting in sports.

Justice Chauhan added, “In many countries betting in sports is legal but situations are different there. We will study all the aspects.” He also said that the Law Commission will write to all stakeholders concerned with betting and gambling and hear their views. He also added that the Law Commission is also looking at measures to usher more transparency in sporting bodies and examining whether BCCI can be brought within the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

In the past couple of years, Justice Lodha and Justice Mudgal committees, appointed by the Supreme Court to examine the IPL betting and fixing scandal had recommended legalising cricket betting as a measure to curtail cheating and fixing.

The Supreme Court in its order dated 18th July, 2016 had asked the government and Law Commission of India to look into the possibility of legalising betting and whether a new law needs to be enacted for the same. The relevant portion of the order read as follows:

So also the recommendation made by the Committee that betting should be legalized by law, involves the enactment of a Law which is a matter that may be examined by the Law Commission and the Government for such action as it may consider necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case.

The 20th Law Commission headed by Justice (retired) AP Shah had in 2014 noted that the Public Gambling Act, 1867 is one of the archaic pre-independence laws that needs to be studied and if required, repealed or amended.


Rahul Dravid, Ranjit Sinha urge government to legalise sports betting in conference endorsed by Prime Minister

Top former cricketer Rahul Dravid and Ranjit Sinha Director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), India’s premier investigating agency,  asked the government to consider legalising sports betting to prevent corruption in sport and bring revenues by way of taxation.

In a panel discussion on legalising sports betting organised by CBI to celebrate their golden jubilee, Sinha and Dravid made the comments on the need to legalise sports betting in the country. The event was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in the presence of Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal and Union Minister of State for the Prime Minister’s office V Narayansamy.

Speaking in a panel discussion on the  3-day ‘International Conference on evolving common Strategies to Combat Corruption and Crime’ Dravid commented,  “If law enforcement agencies feel it is right, betting in sports should be legalised…I believe that it is now time for legal reform and the turn of national and state legislature and the criminal law administration to intervene.”

Ranjit Sinha also supported this view, “If we can have lottery in states, if we can have casinos at holiday resorts. If the government can declare schemes of voluntary disclosure for black money, so what’s the harm in legalising betting.Besides you’ll have enforcement agencies to look into it…”

Will Mr. Prime Minister endorse the CBI director's views?
Will Mr. Prime Minister endorse the CBI director’s views?

However Sinha went a step further and made rather controversial and insenstive comments equating sports betting with rape, “Above all, do we have the enforcement agencies? If you can’t enforce it, it is like you can’t prevent rape, enjoy it. It is better to legalize it and earn some revenue rather than throwing up your hands…”

[Update: Sinha has expressed regret over his ‘unintended and inadvertent’ analogy comparing rape with sports betting as per media reports].

The comments of Sinha,the country’s top investigator and Dravid, a widely respected cricketer whose IPL team faced fixing allegations  assume significance as the proposal for legalising was made in a government platform in a conference organised by the CBI. The conference has been endorsed and inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India and attended by top government officials. The government has definitely taken cognisance of these views but it remains to be seen whether there would be any concrete action based on these suggestions.

Interestingly, FICCI had organised a similar conference on legalising and regulating sports betting last month and had advocated legalising betting to earn revenue and prevent cheating. Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Rahul Dravid and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley were invited as speakers but they were unable to attend the conference due to other commitments.


FICCI organises two-day conference on regulating sports betting, top legal luminaries and gaming companies bat for gambling regulation

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organised a two-day conference on ‘Regulating Sports Betting and Sports Law in India’ on 12th and 13th October 2013 in New Delhi.  Though government representatives and invited Minister were conspicuous by their absence and did not want to take part in any debate on gambling regulation lest it hamper their electoral fortunes next year, the two-day discussion saw participation from various eminent jurists and professionals associated with the gaming industry in four different panels on different aspects concerning gaming, betting, lotteries as well as fixing and doping in sport.

Representatives from Indian companies such as Sugal and Damani, Future Gaming etc. as well as global gaming giants like Ladbrokes actively participated in the engaging discussions. The special guests for the conference Carl Rohsler, Partner Squire Sanders London; Justice (retd.) Mukul Mudgal, eminent jurist and former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court; KTS Tulsi, Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India; Mohan Parasaran, Solicitor General of India; Sugal Chand Jain, Chariman Sugal and Damani Group of Companies and Michael O’Kane, Director Ladbrokes all batted for reforms in the existing betting and gambling laws calling for a more liberal, transparent and licensed regime for the gaming industry.

ficci oct 2013
FICCI conference on legalising sports betting in India

Though most of the eminent guests doubted that any regulation would be possible some time soon, Justice Mudgal proposed the setting up of a committee to analyse various aspects of the betting industry to enable the government take an informed call on the matter.

FICCI also released the second part of its Knowledge Paper titled ‘Regulating Sports Betting in India- II’ (the first part of the Paper was released last year).

Secretary General Dr. A Didar Singh and other FICCI officials said that they would continue arguing for liberalising the gambling sector while Soli Sorabjee one of the most eminent jurists of India lauded the effort of debating the pros and cons of gambling while stating that gambling is not at all an immoral activity.

Note: The press release and other documents are available on the website here.