The India Law Commission’s Proposed Crackdown On Illegal Gambling

In New Delhi, the Law Commission is proposing a new legislation to legalize sports betting and establish some new gambling regulations. In an effort to curb questionable gambling activities the panel believes that strict regulation would eliminate some of the illegal activities that generate black money on the streets of India. They stated that it is not possible to completely prevent illegal activities, but regulation would help with detection of fraud and money laundering.

The commission believes that unlawful gambling generates about 13,000 crore, and is a major source of untraceable money that often ends up in the wrong hands. The Apex court told the commission to examine sports betting after the 2013 bet scandal of the IPA season.

The IPA scandal occurred when Delhi police arrested 3 cricketeers, Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila & Ankeet Chavan. They were all arrested and charged with spot-fixing during the 2013 Indian Premier League season. The three players all played for the Rajasthan Royals based out of Jaipur India and were caught betting against their team. 33 other people and two other bookies were also arrested in connection to the scandal and stated that illegal betting and spot-fixing has deeper roots than just this team or game.

The Law Commission of India stated that those who operate sports betting services and other gambling operators should be licensed, transactions should be cashless, and bettors must link their Aadhaar and PIN cards. Cashless gambling would allow authorities to keep a closer guard on transactions. The commission is also lobbying for match fixing and sports fraud to be made criminal in National law. As of now betting and gambling is a state subject and are loosely governed by national India gambling laws, in particular the Public Gambling Act of 1867.

In most states games of chance are forbidden while games of skill are permitted. Horse racing is the only sport where betting is legal across the country. Sports betting in other sports has basically been overlooked for years but now the Law Commission wants to draft a model law to strictly regulate these activities. Parliament has the ultimate authority to legislate on gambling, so we will see what transpires in the coming months.

The Commission also wants to forbid children from gambling while it breaks gambling up into two different categories: proper gambling and small gambling. Proper gambling would be for the wealthy and would include high stakes. Small gambling would basically be any gambling that contains small stakes. The commission is also lobbying for punters and bookies to be taxed appropriately.

In India, gambling is considered illegal but the laws that govern them are unclear, the verbiage is outdated, and all the laws are all geared towards brick and mortar gambling. Licensed offshore destinations providing India residents access to legal online casinos, poker sites and sportsbooks are not mentioned in National laws and in 2015, a Delhi court stated that cricket betting was not an offense while dismissing Shanthakumaran Sreesanth and 35 others regarding the 2013 IPA scandal.