We missed this earlier.

The Union Minister of State for Finance, Pon Radhakrishnan, said that betting and gambling came under the Entry 34 (Betting and Gambling) of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution. He added that state governments were competent to enact laws related to this issue. This was in response to a series of questions, asked by Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) MP AP Jithender Reddy, about the legality of fantasy sports and online gaming in India, reports Glaws.

Reddy asked:

  • If the central government had a proposal to regulate fantasy sports
  • The number of fantasy sports cases pending in consumer courts (not answered)
  • Whether fantasy sports is a “game of skill” or gambling/betting or ‘gambling and betting’ under the state list (List II of the Seventh Schedule) of the Indian constitution
  • If the central government intended to pass laws to oversee financial transactions taking place in this field (not answered)

Tharoor’s ‘The Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018’

Last month, we reported about Congress MP Shashi Tharoor introducing a private member bill called ‘The Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018’ in the winter session of Lok Sabha. Tharoor told MediaNama that this bill sought to protect the integrity of sports by dealing with issues of sports fraud, while regulating the online market at the same time. He said, “Sports betting is a State subject, but online sports gaming comes under the jurisdiction of the Parliament. Therefore, my Bill deals with the twin issues of sports fraud as well as online sports gaming.”

In his opinion, it is important to regulate online gaming in India because it is a booming sector, and regulating can help in increasing the revenue for the State and weed out the generation of black money. He cited the 276th Report of the Law Commission of India, which states that the present market is estimated to be worth $360 million, and expected to rise to $1 billion by 2021.

Previous attempts at regulation

In July last year, the Law Commission of India recommended the legalisation of gambling and sports betting in India. It added that the Parliament could enact a model law which could be adopted by the states. It also suggested a PAN and Aadhaar linking strategy to keep track for taxation and identification,

In 2017, the Supreme Court of India was considering whether sports betting and gambling could be allowed legally in India. At the time, online betting and gambling was outlawed and could attract a fine and imprisonment for individuals running a gambling house. However, the state of Sikkim issued online gambling licences in 2010 but only but over an intranet, blocking access from the rest of India. Note that only three states allow casinos in India – Goa, Daman and Sikkim.

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The Lowdown: betting on virtual games of skill legalized in Nagaland