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NEWS 6 July 2018
Law Commission of India recommends sports betting legalisation
By Islam Soliman

The Law Commission of India (LCI) has recommended the legislation of regulated sports betting and gambling activities, according to a new legal report.

The report, “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India,” concludes that the law for regulating sports betting will generate a large source of tax revenue and turn match-fixing and sports fraud into illegal offenses.

The Commission states in their report that it’s difficult for regulators to combat gambling corruption in an effective way, noting the need for a stronger and coherent regulation to eliminate the country’s “illegal and unregulated gambling industry".

LCI believes that India’s constitution allows parliament to implement additional customs to fix and punish those who operate in defiance of the country laws. LCI urges legislators to enact a law for regulating gambling that can be adopted by individual states.

A passage in the report read: "Parliament may also enact a model law for regulating gambling that may be adopted by the states or in the alternative, Parliament may legislate in exercise of its powers under Articles 249 or 252 of the Constitution. In case legislation is made under Article 252, states other than the consenting states will be free to adopt the same."

In order to crack down on illegal gambling activities, the Commission suggests that the government should introduce “cashless” transactions between players and operators. According to the report, all transaction would be connected to players’ Aadaar demographic ID numbers and their tax-based Permanent Account Number (PAN). 

Among its recommendation cited in the report, gambling would be classified into two categories -  ‘proper’ and ‘small’ gambling for people with low income. Individuals whose income falls below minimum wage levels set by the government should be banned from all legal gambling within the country. 
 
The report also notes that the government should amend the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy and forex laws to allow investments in the casino and online gaming industry. “The Foreign Exchange Management Act-1999 and... the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy may be suitably amended to encourage FDI in the casino/online gaming industry, lawfully permitting technological collaborations, licensing and brand-sharing agreements,” it has said.

The Commission said that bringing down FDI barriers will help boost India’s economic growth and “bring substantial amounts of investment to states that decide to permit casinos, propelling the growth of tourism and hospitality industries.”

RELATED TAGS: Legal & Regulatory | Sports Betting
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