Law Commission of India calls for gambling regulation
Commission submits report to government
The Law Commission of India has proposed that gambling in sports be regulated. The report, which was submitted to the government on Thursday suggested that since it was unfeasible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option remaining would be to regulate.
The commission, which is headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice B.S. Chauhan, propsed ‘cashless’ gambling in sports as a means to increase revenue and put a dampener on unlawful gambling.
It was suggested that any money generated by this initiative can be used for public welfare activities, with revenue from gambling taxable under laws such as the Income Tax Act, the Goods and Services Tax Act.
Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Asdhaar and PAN cards, so that the government could keep an eye on them, the panel said.
The commission recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling’. Proper gambling would be for the wealthy playing for high stakes, while the latter would service low-income groups. The panel also requested a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual, that is, monthly, half-yearly and annual. Restrictions on the amount should be applied while using credit and debit cards.
There was also mention of the need to protect groups that may be vulnerable to exploitation, such as minors and those below the poverty line, those benefiting from welfare or subsidies.
According to the commission, Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct, investment laws and policies should be updated to facilitate investment in the online gaming industry, potentially serving as a boon to tourism and employment opportunities.
The Commission report said, “There is merit in the argument that, had gambling been regulated at the time of the Mahabharat, Yudhishtir could not have staked his wife and brothers in a gamble.
“Such activities, if properly regulated would ensure transparency in the market, and also strike at the underworld’s control over the illegal and unregulated gambling industry. Additionally, revenue so generated by regulating and taxing betting and gambling may become a good source of revenue, which in turn, could be used for public welfare.”
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