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India Legal Panel Favours Gambling and Betting Legalisation
- March 20, 2017 By Oliver Young -
India is the second largest country in the world in terms of population. Research shows that the number of internet users in the country is growing by the minute. Therefore it is not surprising that international companies who offer services online, such as casino and betting operators, are interested in the Indian market.
However, India’s attitude towards gambling, betting and related activities has been rather restrictive. The legal status of betting and gambling is rather complicated and in many cases the legislation in one state differs from the laws that are in power in another. Several Indian states have old and outdated laws that restrict or ban gambling altogether.
The Indian Market Has Huge Potential
It seems that the attitude in the country is changing and there are many who feel that the country as whole could actually benefit from legalising betting and gambling. Legalised gambling means increased tax revenues paid by the operators, plus it offers punters an increased degree of security and protection. Currently, certain forms of gambling are legal only in three states. One student challenged the gambling law in the state of Maharashtra, claiming that it actually legalised gambling in the 1970s.
Now a legal panel consisted of renowned Indian lawyers was requested to give their opinion on the matter of regulating gambling in the country. A general consensus is that there is no justification for a full ban on all gambling activities in the country. The panel was requested to give its opinion after the match rigging scandal of 2013 which involved few high-profile players from the Indian Premier League in cricket.
The opinion of India’s Law Commission now is that regulating betting and gambling is better than banning it. The retired judge who chairs the legal panel, despite the fact that he has a negative opinion regarding gambling, feels that the arguments in favour of legalisation outweigh the arguments in favour of a complete ban.
Gambling Tax Revenues Would Amount to $2.5 Billion Annually
The All India Gaming Federation organised a seminar where multiple participants, including the chairman of the mentioned panel participated. The chairman, judge Chauhan said that gambling in itself is not a problem, stating that there are certain problems associated with excessive gambling, which can be eliminated.
By legalising gambling it was argued that the government could increase the states’ tax revenues in addition to providing legal protection to punters and players. It is estimated that the Indian gambling market would be worth around $60 billion per year, and about $2.5 billion would end up in the government’s coffers.
The government is yet to order a study on the implications of legalising betting and gambling, before a decision is reached. The old Public Gaming Act of 1867 still regulated the country’s gambling market, and everybody agrees that the country need a more modern approach.
Last year, the country’s Supreme Court accepted the suggestions of the Lodha Committee to legalise sports betting through legalisation, concluding that legalisation of sports betting doesn’t always lead to match rigging. However, the matter whether to legalise betting and gambling has been left to the Parliament.