New Delhi: The Law Commission of India has recommended regulated gambling and betting in sports to check fraud and money laundering.
Regulation would not only empower the government to identify and prevent instances of gambling by minors and “problem-gamblers" but also enable it to “effectively curb the menace of black-money generation through illegal gambling," the commission said in its report published on Friday.
“It’s up to the government to accept these recommendation in total, or accept some of them, or reject all of them. Regulation is the step that comes after legalization," said Ashish Bhan, Partner, Trilegal.
The report titled Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting Including in Cricket in India suggests a three-pronged strategy—reforming the existing gambling (lottery, horse racing) market, regulating gambling and introducing stringent and overarching regulations.
“Gambling and betting, if any, should be offered only by Indian licensed operators from India possessing valid licences granted by the game licensing authority," the report reads while recommending that it should be restricted to money with a linkage to PAN card and Aadhaar card to ensure transparency and state supervision.
The report further suggests that there must be a cap on the amount that one can legally “gamble", as well as on the number of transactions an individual can make in a specific time period.
The commission has recommended taxation of any income derived from gambling and betting, as well as allowing foreign direct investment in states that decide to permit casinos. This would “propel the growth of the tourism and hospitality industries", the report states.
The report also advocates a bar on the participation of minors and those who get subsidies or do not fall within the purview of the Income Tax Act or the goods and services tax (GST) Act.
The commission states that match-fixing and sports fraud should be made criminal offences with severe punishments and suggests that a council be established to prevent “problem gambling" and “gambling by minors".
The report calls for the regulation of casinos, maintenance of accounts, audits, and the safeguarding of its employees.
It also recommends that the exemption granted to horse-racing from the gambling prohibition should be extended to other skill-centric games, with the operators focusing on the safety and protection of players involved in such games.