- The Law Commission of India submitted a report to the government to “regulate” gambling in sports.
2. The Commission was headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan.
3. The Commission said that it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option is to regulate gambling in sports.
4. Key recommendations of the Commission:
Recommended “cashless” gambling in sports as means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.
- The money generated can be used for public welfare activities.
- The revenue from the gambling should be taxable under laws like Income Tax Act, the Goods and Services Tax Act.
- The transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards
- Recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling’.
- Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups.
- Recommended to introduce a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual.
- Restrictions on amount should be prescribed while using electronic money facilities like credit cards, debit cards, and net banking.
- Gambling websites should also not solicit pornography.
- Regulations need to protect vulnerable groups, minors, poor, and those who depend on social welfare measures for their livelihoods, subsidies and Jan Dhan account holders from exploitation through gambling.
- The Commission recommended Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment Policies should be amended to encourage investment in the online gambling industry.
5. However, one of the members of the commission Sivakumar expressed strong opposition on the following grounds:
- The report was not comprehensive.
- A country as poor as India should not allow ‘ legalized gambling’.
- The commission exceeds its brief given to it by the SC in 2016.
- The court’s reference had come in its judgment in the BCCI case involving illegal betting in IPL cricket matches.
- He criticized the commission for ignoring socio-economic conditions of the country.
- The Commission was also criticized for avoiding Justice R. M Lodha Committee in its report, based on which the reference was made to the Law Commission by the court in 2016 in its BCCI judgment.
- He said allowing gambling in sports would favour the amassing of money by a handful of game operators.
- The member criticized the Commission for suo motu examining the issue of legalizing gambling.
- He argued that the SC had only asked the Commission to examine the limited question of legalizing betting in cricket and not “sport” as a whole.