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India – Law Commission recommends sports betting be legalised in India

By - 12 July 2018

India’s Law Commission has submitted a report to its government called Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India, which recommends that sports betting be legalised in India.

The report, which was requested by the Supreme Court, claims that a sports betting ban isn’t working and that licensed Indian operators should instead be given licences by the regulatory authority.

The report stated: “Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable optionIf the Parliament or the State Legislatures wish to proceed in this direction, the Commission feels that regulated gambling would ensure detection of fraud and money laundering, etc. Such regulation of gambling would require a three-pronged strategy-reforming the existing gambling (lottery, horse racing) market, regulating illegal gambling and introducing stringent and over-arching regulations. The nature of stakes should be restricted to money with a linkage to PAN card and Aadhar card and the betting amount should be prescribed by law, having an upper limit on the amount one can legally stake in a gamble, which may be on the basis of the deposit, winnings or losses.”

The panel has proposed two categories, ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling’ with ‘proper gambling’ referring to higher stakes. It has suggested a cap on the number of transactions in a specific period.

“The nature of stakes should be restricted to money with a linkage to PAN and Aadhaar cards, and the betting amount should be prescribed by law, having an upper limit on the amount one can legally stake in a gamble, which may be on the basis of the deposit, winnings or losses,” it said. “Regulation would, therefore, empower the authorised agencies to identify and prevent instances of gambling by minors and ‘problem-gamblers’ as well as save the public from any kind of inconvenience at the hands of law enforcement authorities. It would also enable the Government to effectively curb the menace of black money generation through illegal gambling,” the report added.

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) responded by saying: “Regulators could cooperate with operators across the world to exchange information on suspicious activities (including match fixing). This would make the market more transparent.”

AIGF CEO & Founder Roland Landers added: “We welcome the Law Commission’s positive recommendations on legalization on sports betting in the country. The Law Commission have been extremely co-operative and supportive to all of AIGF’s efforts to initiate dialogue on regulation of sports betting and gambling in India. We are hoping that government takes the law commission’s recommendations into consideration. The report presented by FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) in 2016 during AIGF’s India Gaming Conclave 2016 estimated total turnover of the betting market at Rs300,000 crores with 90 per cent in the grey market. Hence the law commission’s recommendation to the government is rightly timed step and is expected to have positive business implications on the gaming industry in India.”

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