The Commission suggested that betting could be used to generate employment, raise taxes and also tap into foreign direct investment.

Law commission uses Mahabharata reference to recommend legalised bettingRepresentational image/ tlianza via Flickr
news Regulation Friday, July 06, 2018 - 12:11

In a surprising pitch to legalise betting, the Law Commission has recommended that there be

“regularised betting” with a slew of measures, as it observed that a blanket ban has proved to be futile in keeping black money in check.

Currently, only betting on horseracing is legal in India, according to the Public Gambling Act, 1867.

In a report titled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India’ the Commission suggested that betting could be used to generate employment, raise direct and indirect taxes and also tap into foreign direct investment.

The Commission also recommended that betting and gambling should be made cashless (with Aadhaar or PAN) to keep track of the flow along with cap on the number of transactions on individuals. At the same time, the panel has recommended penalising cash transactions.

According to News18, the commission’s report includes inputs from students, legal experts and the general public and found that it was only “logical” that regulation would be more fruitful than prohibition.

These reforms will "bring substantial amounts of investment to those states that decide to permit casinos, propelling the growth of the tourism and hospitality industries, while also enabling such states to generate higher revenue and employment opportunities,” the Commission’s report said, according to Economic Times.

“In the light of the fact that the existing black-market operations relating to these activities are a major source of influx of black money in the economy, regulation rather than complete prohibition the logical step to be taken," the report further stated.

In order to make its point about legalising betting, the Commission reportedly mentioned the Mahabharata.

"The argument that had gambling been regulated in the Mahabharata period, Yudhishtir could not have put his brothers and wife as stakes, perhaps Mahabharata could not have been there, is full of substance," said the report.

The report comes after the Law Commission was asked by the apex court, which is hearing a case between the Board of Control for Cricket in India and Cricket Association of Bihar and Others, to study the feasibility of legalising betting in the country.

The Commission also reportedly quoted Dr BR Ambedkar to pitch for legalisation. “If this entry was omitted, there would be absolutely no control over betting and gambling activities at all,” the report said.  

The International Centre for Sports Security in Doha pegs the illegal sports betting market in India to be close to Rs 9.6 lakh crore.

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