Gaming federation wants central law for online and cricket betting

Betting on sports, except horse racing, is banned in India but it happens illegally in an unorganised and underground manner.

india Updated: Jul 13, 2017 10:26 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
online betting,cricket betting,cricket
Gamblers prepare to place their bets at the Greyville Race Course in Durban. The Durban July horse race is the biggest horse racing event on the African continent and a high social event where South African celebrities dress up and watch the race. It attracts close to 100,000 spectators.(AFP FILE PHOTO)

The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has sought a central legalisation allowing online betting and regulated betting on cricket, saying the government stands to earn thousands of crore in tax and revenues every year.

The Federation on Monday submitted a white paper to the Law Commission, which is working on a draft law in this regard.

Betting on sports, except horse racing, is banned in India but it happens illegally in an unorganised and underground manner.

The government has been mulling the idea of regulating the sector and generating tax by partially legalising the sector.

On a reference from the Supreme Court last year, the LCI began working on a draft law to legalise sports betting. The RM Lodha committee which was formed after a spot fixing scandal in cricket came to light had recommended legalising betting in cricket.

Based on a 2013 report prepared by FICCI, the underground betting market in India is estimated to be worth Rs 3,00,000 crore.

AIGF estimates that even by bringing half of the underground market through regulation, the government stands to gain over Rs 7,000 crore in tax every year and nearly Rs 10,000 crore will come in through FDI.

“Just like cricket is a game of skill, so is betting on the outcome of the game. This is similar to horse racing and we want the law to allow betting on one, on the basis of the other,” Roland Landers, CEO, AIGF told HT.

After AIGF officials met law commission chairman justice (retd) BS Chauhan on Monday, commission officials confirmed that they are now “considering the industry’s demands”.

The panel had invited comments from stakeholders till June 30. “Strict rules against betting and gambling have not necessarily acted as a deterrent. Online gambling and betting is another area which has become very difficult to curb,” the commission observed while inviting suggestions.

The federation has demanded that the government define ‘skill’ and bring a law to issue unified online gaming licences under the Centre. “People can’t build businesses around ambiguity,” Landers explained.

First Published: Jul 13, 2017 10:26 IST