Indian Authorities Engage Cyber Specialists To Stop Online Gambling
India’s online gambling and sports betting market continues to grow rapidly as the authorities struggle to curb the iGaming industry. The online gambling and sports betting market experienced a huge uptick in traffic once COVID-19 hit in 2020 and India went into lockdown.
Demand for iGaming and Betting
While things have since returned to normal in most parts of India, online gambling and betting traffic continues to be strong, as Indian players have now made it part of their daily activity to go online and enjoy some of their favorite casino games. iGaming operators catering to the Indian market have recognized this demand and have continued to pump out more gaming and betting content that appeal to Indian users.
Many offshore gaming and betting operators currently offer their services in the Indian market. Even though gambling is banned in most Indian states, the gambling laws are archaic, and offshore gaming operators take advantage of these loopholes to operate in India. They offer lucrative welcome bonus packages to new users and customize their bonuses and promotions to cater to Indian players and bettors.
Most of these gaming and betting operators offer mobile casinos or mobile casino apps that allow players to download them on their smartphones and enjoy betting and casino games while on the move.
State Authorities Unable To Stop iGaming
Multiple states have tried to target the online gambling and betting market and put a stop to it. Some states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have taken the legal route and imposed a blanket ban on online gambling operations. However, they have struggled to enforce their ban as state authorities cannot enforce the ban, and as a result, these offshore gaming operators continue to operate in these states.
One of the reasons why state authorities have struggled to ban online gambling and betting operators is because there is no established gambling regulator in the vast majority of Indian states. There were talks in the past of the Indian government establishing a gambling regulator, but nothing has come to fruition.
With no dedicated gambling establishment looking into the online gambling industry, there is no proper leadership or initiative to ban online gambling operators.
Authorities Engage CERT-IN
Maharashtra is one state that has seen a huge uptick in iGaming activity. The city of Mumbai in Maharashtra is one reason why this state is as popular as Bollywood, and the Bombay Stock Exchange makes Maharashtra one of the most modern states in the country.
Aurangabad, another city in Maharashtra, is keen to put an end to online gambling activities as the authorities are concerned that there are no restrictions to stop Indian players from accessing these sites.
Authorities in Aurangabad have contacted the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) and have asked for their help. CERT-IN is currently under the Union Ministry of Electronics and Informational Technology and has highly technical specialists when dealing with cyber-attacks.
CERT-IN has been asked to use its expertise to help curb online gambling and betting activities in Aurangabad. A police officer from the Osmanpur police station said their cyber police division reached out to CERT-IN and raised the concerns they are facing with online gambling operations and have asked for their help to block all of these illegal and unlicensed gaming and betting sites.
Cyber Police Call For Stringent Penalties
India has a population that is close to 1.3 billion, and it is going to be a herculean task for any agency to policy individuals and their gambling or betting activities. The best way for an organization like CERT-IN or any other agency to crack down on offshore gaming operators or unlicensed bookies is to go after their respective gambling and betting domains.
Authorities will have to work with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and get them to blacklist gambling domains and get banks and other financial intuitions to cooperate with them and not process any transactions involving these blacklisted domains. CERT-IN or other relevant organisations will have to keep a blocklist of these gambling domains and keep updating it regularly.
This is because when offshore or illegal gambling operators get their domain blacklisted; they usually return quickly using another domain. This makes it difficult for the authorities to keep track and keep adding to their blacklist constantly. India, at the moment, does not have the proper protocols in place to make this happen.
This is one reason why cyber police call on the Indian government to push for illegal online gambling operators to be tried under the Information Technology Act, as the penalties under this act are a lot more stringent.