In a Nutshell:
Roll of the Dice:
Law Commission of India has put forward a potential landscape-changing recommendation for legalizing sports betting in India.
In its report, titled, “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India,” the commission has recommended several ways of regulating the betting market stating that preventing these activities entirely was not possible, thus effective regulation was the only viable option.
However, it leaves the final say to the Parliament and the state government.
What does it suggest?
The commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice BS Chauhan, suggested that cashless wagering in sports would act as a means for increasing revenue and it would also help in curbing unlawful gambling.
The commission has also recommended linking Aadhar/PAN card for betting to promote cash-less digital transactions for monitoring cash flow limitations.
Linking the Aadhar and PAN for both operators and participants would limit the amount an individual can bet.
It also distinguishes between ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling’.
Proper gambling would be for those who play for high stakes whereas small gambling would be for the low-income groups.
The panel also recommends the government for an introduction of a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual, i.e, monthly, half-yearly and annual.
Gambling websites should also not solicit pornography, it mentioned.
According to the commission, Laws and policies of Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment should be amended for encouraging investment in the casino and online gaming industry. It would help in boosting tourism and employment, it said.
Panel cites Kautilya and the Mahabharat:
The panel referred to Naradasmriti, a treatise accredited to Narada in Indian mythology.
“When carried in gaming houses, Naradsmriti describes gambling as a lawful amusement. Kautilya has also advocated the gambling must exist under the control of the state,” the report asserts.
The Report signed by Justice Chauhan and five other Commission observed, “There is merit in the argument that, if gambling had been regulated at the time of Mahabharat, Yudhistir could have staked his wife in a gamble.”