Legalise Gambling : Law Commission

The Law Commission of India has submitted a report to the government, saying that since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option left is to regulate gambling in sports.
  • The Commission recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling.’ Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups.
  • The panel wanted the government to introduce a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual: monthly, half-yearly and annual.
  • Restrictions on the amount should be prescribed while using electronic money facilities such as credit cards, debit cards and net-banking.
  • Gambling websites should not solicit pornography.
  • Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards so that the government could keep an eye on them.
  • According to the Commission, foreign exchange management and foreign direct investment laws and policies should be amended to encourage investment in the casino/online gaming industry. - Legalise Gambling Law Commission

  • The Commission, headed by former Supreme Court judge B.S. Chauhan, recommended cashless gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling.
  • The money generated can be used for public welfare measures.
  • For that, the revenue from gambling should be taxable under laws such as the Income Tax Act and the Goods and Services Tax Act.
  • The regulations should protect vulnerable groups, minors and those below the poverty line, those who draw their sustenance from social welfare measures, subsidies and Jan Dhan account-holders from exploitation through gambling.
  • Investment in the casino industry (online gaming) would propel tourism and employment.
  • However, one of the members expressed strong dissent in a separate note filed with the government.
  • The dissenting note said the recommendation may lead to an unhealthy and unwarranted discussion.
  • The Law Commission’s report was not comprehensive.
  • A country as poor as India should not allow ‘legalised gambling.’
  • Such a move would leave the poor poorer, and only vested interests want legalisation of gambling.
  • The Commission did not even bother to consider the socio-economic conditions in the country before making such a recommendation.
  • Socio-economic and cultural circumstances of the country are not pragmatic to accept legalised gambling activities as it is still treated as a social stigma.
  • The present condition in the country is not ripe for legalising betting in sports.
  • This would favour the amassing of money clandestinely by a handful of game operators.
  • The policy of the government, in general, is to disallow betting and gambling.
  • The Commission has exceeded the brief given to it by the Supreme Court in 2016.
  • The court had asked the Commission to look into the narrow question of legalising betting in cricket, and not sports as a whole.
  • The reference had come in its judgment in the BCCI case involving illegal betting in IPL cricket matches.
Why a law is needed for gambling?
Gambling is covered under an archaic law, the Public Gambling Act of 1867. The Constitution has enabled the States to enact their own gambling legislation. However, there is no uniformity in the various State laws and most of these laws pertain to physical gambling and not online or virtual gambling, which is seen to be a route to crime, corruption and money laundering. Section 67 of the Information Technology Act of 2000 vaguely prohibits online transmission and publication of material which “corrupt” persons.

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