Sports Betting Moves Forward in Sikkim

Seal_of_Sikkim_smallIn August, Manoj Sehti, the Director of Golden Gaming International noted that the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Amendment would soon legalize sports betting in the state.

Until now, the only legal betting activities in India have been state or government lotteries, horse racing betting, and land-based casinos in only four locations. There have been arguments against sports betting because of the recent match and spot fixing problems in India’s cricket tournaments.

Sikkim is a small state located in the northwest of India near the border with Tibet and Nepal. Sikkim is one of four locations that offer legal casino gaming. The other three are Goa, Daman, and Diu. The first land-based casinos in India were opened in Sikkim in 2009.

Sikkim has a population of just over 600,000 people. Legalizing betting in the state will help to attract tourists, and can thereby boost the Sikkim economy both directly and indirectly. Tourism numbers have risen from between 4 – 5,000 to as many as 12,000 tourists per year since the state opened casinos.

The state has already issued gaming licenses to three different operators. Now that there will be new gaming laws in place, Sikkim is hoping to double the amount of tourists each year, although the state has aspirations to have as many as 50,000 per year. In 2017, the Sikkim airport should be completed. Once tourists can easily fly to this gaming destination, the number of visitors is likely to increase.

Although Sikkim had hoped to be a base for online gambling throughout India, it was asked to revise its gaming laws that would restrict online gaming to the state itself. Since states are allowed to decide whether they wish to allow gambling or not, Sikkim chose to legalize gambling. However, there are some problems that are still encountered because the Reserve Bank of India does not permit payment gateways to accept gambling-related deposits.