India’s Law Commission has opened a 30-day window, to solicit the views of citizens and stakeholders with regards to legalising betting and further gambling activities.
In 2016, a special committee led by Justice Rajendra Lodha recommended that sports betting be legalised to protect citizens against criminal gangs and to fight against match-fixing within Indian sports.
Indian news sources report that the committee will investigate betting consumer safeguards, policing of criminal activity, monitoring of problem gambling and whether to open up its market to international operators.
It has been well documented that India is in dire need of reforming its almost 150-year old ‘Public Gambling Act’. Although certain online betting regulations are covered by the ‘2000 Digital Technology Act’, numerous MPs have argued that India is well behind the curve when tackling illegal betting run by criminal gangs.
In its mandate, the Commission’s appeal points out that betting and gambling are carried out clandestinely by Indian citizens
“Various media reports time and again point out that betting and gambling, though not legal in India, is practised across the country clandestinely. These reports argue that many families are rendered bankrupt, and many people are behind bars owing to these practices. Strict rules against betting and gambling have not necessarily acted as a deterrent.”
At present India allows for gambling in the form of public lotteries and Indian bred only horseracing through the government licensed ‘Turf Clubs’, of which there are six in the cities of Bangalore, Hyderabad, Calcutta, Mumbai and Mysore.