Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor has introduced the Sports (Online Gaming & Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018 to the Lok Sabha which aims to legalise sports gambling in India.
The two parts of the bill are:
(i) penalising match-fixing and manipulation of domestic and international sporting events,
(ii) creating an over-arching national regulatory and licensing framework for overseeing and permitting online sports gaming in the country, subject to numerous safeguards and guidelines.
The bill defines online sports gaming as placing a bet on the whole or partial outcome of a game via a telecommunication device like a smartphone or a computer.
According to the proposed bill, there is a need to establish a special gaming 7 member commission as a governing body to regulate the online sports gaming market and maintaining the integrity of sports. There is also a mention of creating an offence of ‘sports fraud’ in the bill, where any manipulation of the result of a sporting event in exchange of illegal gratification, the disclosure of inside information and misrepresentation of a sports participants age would be punishable.
As per the proposed bill, legislation will impose various restrictions on betting on sports matches which includes limiting access to online sports gaming websites to people of certain age groups like minors, the fees to be charged for betting, restriction on giving credit facilities for betting etc.
The size of the sports betting market in India is estimated to be between $60-130 billion. If the bill gets passed, Rs 15,000-20,000 crore can be earned by the government annually by way of taxes. As of now, sports betting is only legal in the northeastern state of Sikkim.
The 276th report of the Law Commission of India (LCI) has opened up the possibility of legalising sports betting and gambling in India.