In 2016, the Law Commission of India was given the task of examining the gambling industry, with consideration given to the legal aspects of betting on sports in the country. The review was based on the sport-fixing controversy of 2013 which involved cricket players of the Indian Premier League. The Law Commission now has a considered opinion in favor of sports betting regulation as well as casino gambling for the country.
According to a report by the Times of India, the Commission has determined that the regulation of gambling activities would be better for the country than a full ban. Head of the Commission, retired Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan, stated that, gambling in general, may have adverse effects, such as an increase in crime and lower living standards due to some falling prey to an addiction. However, these reasons do not validate a complete ban on gambling in the country.
This past weekend, the All India Gaming Federation and the FICCI organized a seminar in which Chauhan spoke about the adverse effects of gaming. In his comments, Chauhan stated that such effects like crime and worsening living conditions are not due to gambling per se but a result of excessive gambling that results in a form of addiction.
Chauhan stated further that the response of the state in this situation should be to regulate the activity and not seek to stop it with a complete ban. With legalization, the government would have the ability to bring gambling ‘out from the dark corners of society’ putting controls in place as well as earn revenues in the process. Right now, money is circulating within the black market that could become available to the country, if betting were legalized.
A gambling industry in India could bring in large revenues for the country, according to the retired justice. The total market is currently worth $60 billion each year, which is equal to tax revenues of around $2.6 billion for the government. Chauhan also stated that the government will still need to conduct a study to determine the implications of sports betting and casino gambling legalization as there are chances that people will resort to unlawful means in an effort to earn quick money via gambling.
In the past, India has considered legalization sports betting, yet no action has been taken by legislature. The gambling market is currently operating under the Public Gaming Act 1867 which many wish to see modernized.