India’s Law Commission has submitted a recommendation to government that sports betting and gambling be legalized and regulated.
In a report titled Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India, which was submitted to law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad last week, the Law Commission said that shutting down illegal gambling and enforcing a ban on sports betting had failed to produce the desired results, leading instead to an increase in illegal gambling and black money circulation.
“Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable option,” the report said.
Among the recommendations is for a law to be enacted for the regulation of gambling that can then be adopted by India’s various states. The report also recommends that gambling services should be offered only by licensed Indian operators who would be granted licenses by the regulatory authority and that gamblers should have the number or size of bets capped within a given time period.
“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 report said.
It was also suggested that gambling be classified into two distinct categories – “proper gambling” and “small gambling” – with “proper gambling” referring to high stakes play.
In a submission to the Law Commission’s report, local gaming industry body the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) said it had recommended a regulatory regime that would allow authorities to supervise the sports betting market.
“Regulators could cooperate with operators across the world to exchange information on suspicious activities (including match fixing). This would make the market more transparent,” the AIGF said in a statement over the weekend.
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% 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.”