India’s Law Commission Recommends Legalised And Regulated Gambling

Two year study recommends that tax revenues be reaped from licensed sports betting

After two years of deliberations on gambling the Law Commission of India has released its conclusions, recommending that gambling and betting on sports, including cricket, be allowed as regulated activities taxable under the direct and indirect tax regimes and used as a source for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

The commission’s report, Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India, recommends a number of changes in the law for regulating betting and generating tax revenues from it.

“Since it is not possible to prevent these activities completely, effectively regulating them remains the only viable option,” the Commission opined after extensive public and industry consultation. It therefore recommends that lawmakers apply their minds to enacting the necessary legislation.

The recommendations stress the need for appropriate safety measures for consumers such as age and problem gambling measures, anti-money laundering regulations, responsible gambling warnings and cashless wagering.

It suggests high stakes wagering be distinguished from small wagering levels with appropriate player restrictions based on players’ income, and the exclusion of persons receiving social welfare assistance and those who are exempt from taxation due to low income.

There should be maximum limits placed on the number of an individual’s gambling transactions in a defined timeframe, along with deposits, winnings and losses, and with provisions to protect the Indian gambling industry from external competition.