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India ‘unlikely’ to adopt commission recommendation on gambling

| By iGB Editorial Team
Don't expect changes to Indian gambling laws "any time soon", expert warns

The Indian government is unlikely to accept the Law Commission’s recommendation that gambling and sports betting should be regulated “any time soon”, according to an expert on the country’s gambling industry.

The commission’s report, ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India’, was published yesterday (Thursday). The report calls for gambling to be regulated for those of 18 years and older, with bets linked directly to Aadhaar or PAN identity cards in order to reduce the risk of money laundering.

The report also argued that there should be a change in FDI (foreign direct investment) policy to encourage the flow of foreign money into the domestic casino and online gaming industry and suggested a cap on the number of bets an individual will be able to place in a certain period.

Jay Sayta, a Mumbai-based corporate lawyer, told iGamingBusiness.com that although the recommendation is a “positive step forward for the gaming industry” in India, change is unlikely to be imminent.

“One must understand that the Law Commission is merely an advisory body whose suggestions may or may not be accepted by the central government,” said Sayta, who is also the founder of the GLaws.in website, which is dedicated to covering legal developments in the Indian gambling sector.

“Given the current complex political situation, it is unlikely that the commission's recommendations will be accepted and implemented by the central government any time soon.”

Justice BS Chauhan, the commission’s chair, said that regulating gambling would “ensure detection of fraud and money laundering”.

However, Sayta said that “the commission's recommendations have come with a lot of riders and stringent, unrealistic conditions”.

Moreover, one of the commission’s members, S Sivakumar, spoke out against the recommendation, saying that the report said could “lead to an unhealthy and unwarranted discussion”.

According to Sayta, this lack of consensus is significant.

“Although the norm is that normally all commission's members unanimously approve its recommendations, there was a strong dissent by one of the members who noted that no form of gambling should be allowed,” he added.

“The issue of regulating gambling thus remains complicated even today and there is unlikely to be any consensus on the issue in the near future.”

Image: Lensbug Chandru

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