It’s not just retail giants and multinationals that are making a beeline for Mumbai. Global betting major Ladbrokes wants to set up shop in the city too.
Maharashtra may be the only Indian state where sports betting is banned, but the UK-based betting house, which accepts wagers on several sports like cricket, football and tennis, wants to change that. Last month, it made a detailed presentation on the benefits of sports betting to Deputy Chief Minister RR Patil and his bureaucrats in the Home Ministry.
“We are examining Ladbrokes’ proposal,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chitkala Zutshi. In Maharashtra, only betting on horse races is legal. However, illegal betting is rampant in other sports — hundreds of crores are bet on cricket, for instance. Such betting is controlled by illegal syndicates.
If the proposal is approved, punters would be able to legally bet on outcomes of games as well as the performance of individual players — whether Sachin Tendulkar would score a hundred in his next match, for instance. The government would benefit by levying tax on such betting, thus increasing revenues.
“Authorities could track the movement of money in order to ensure fewer controversies,” Royal Western India Turf Club Secretary BA Engineer said.