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Law Commission recommends legalisation of gambling and sports betting

The Law Commission has called for sports betting and gambling to overall be legalised and heavily regulated. Among other things, the Commission has also recommended that sports betting and gambling should be cashless so that problems like tax evasion can be kept in check. The report was prepared in response to a directive from the Supreme Court. The report reasoned that legalising these activities would bring about more transparency in the betting market, per Live Law. It would also loosen the grip of organized criminals on the industry since legitimate entities can start these operations too.

This has potentially huge consequences for online gambling and betting since future legislation formed on the basis of the Law Commission’s report could give these players more certainty.

Read the Law Commission’s report

Law body’s recommendations

Below are some of the Law Commission’s recommendations.

— Parliament should pass a model law for states to follow for gambling.
— Skill-based gambling (like horse-racing) should be exempt from rules, and operators for these games must ensure player safety.
— Gambling operations must only be provided by licensed operators, and participants should have a transaction cap on them and link their Aadhaar or PAN with the licensed operators.
— “Small” gambling and “proper” gambling should be two separate tiers, where only high-income individuals can partake in the latter. The stakes must be low in the “small” gambling category.
— People below the age of 18 and below the poverty line should not be permitted to gamble, so that money they receive from Direct Benefit Transfer and other government schemes is not misused.
— “The websites advertising gambling must compulsorily ensure that there is no objectionable or pornographic content on display on their portals/platforms.”
— Information on risks associated with gambling must be prominently disclosed by operators.
— Gambling income must be taxable, and FDI policy should be updated to encourage foreign investment.
— “Amend any other existing law(s) that puts an impediment to bring into effect the regulating mechanism to such effect.”

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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