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29 Apr 2017

Legalized sports betting in India being examined: A good bet?

Legalized sports betting: Could it become a reality?

The Supreme Court has decided to examine whether gambling and betting in sports could be legalized.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar agreed to hear the PIL seeking its direction to the government to frame a law for allowing and regulating sports betting.

The court stated the matter would be pursued along with the cricket reforms case pending before it.

In context

Legalized sports betting: Could it become a reality?

Comprehensive report on cricket reforms

Justice Lodha Committee, in its comprehensive report on cricket reforms filed in the Supreme Court, had also stated the matter of legalizing betting needs to be considered. Betting or gambling is prohibited and punishable under law.

Weeding out undesirable elements


Weeding out undesirable elements

The petition stated regulating the present system would weed out the "undesirable elements" from the business of betting and bring in more credible and genuine players over whom the government could have more control.

It added existing players indulge in shady transactions as the business is unregulated.

Huge crime syndicates and mafia control the business most of which aren't even managed from within India.

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Immense loss to the country: Petitioner

The petitioner stated: "The calls for regulating betting have been made because unregulated betting is an immense loss to the country and also because regulation of this activity would enable the government to distinguish between harmless betting and corrupt activities like match-fixing."

Betting Business

Legalized betting would benefit India

Senior advocate RS Suri and lawyer Reepak Kansal, appearing for the petitioner, told the SC bench that legalized betting in India would be beneficial.

By making earnings from betting/gambling taxable, the government could generate revenue of Rs. 12,000cr yearly; the Indian betting market is worth Rs. 3 lakh crore.

They added legalized betting would help government in curbing corrupt activities in sports like match-fixing.

Law Commission already examining the issue

The Issue

Law Commission already examining the issue

The Law Commission of India is already scrutinizing the issue.

Although the Commission is yet to file its report, it favored a comprehensive legislation to legalize gambling and betting in the country.

The Commission's Chairman and Former Supreme Court Judge BS Chauhan reportedly stated at a seminar that a law to regulate activities like betting should be made instead of continuing with the ban.

BS Chauhan's statement

Chauhan stated, "Development of gambling industry in India requires a three-pronged strategy - reforming the existing gambling (lottery, horse racing) market and legalizing the present illegal market (introducing new products) while introducing stringent and over-arching regulations."

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