It’s a piece of news that will be welcomed by many whose interest in sports lies in the money to be made, rather than the side that wins or loses: The Law Commission of India has recommended legalisation of sports betting and gambling activities and regulating them, stating that a complete ban has proved to be “counter-productive” and has only resulted in a hike of “black money generation and circulation”.
It said that since it is impossible to stop illegal gambling, the only viable option left is to “regulate” gambling in sports and it be allowed as regulated activity taxable under the direct and indirect tax regimes and used as a source for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).
The commission recommended “cashless” gambling in sports and taxing the earnings as a means to increase revenue and deal a blow to unlawful gambling. The money generated can be used for public welfare activities, it said.
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.
The Law Commission report was prepared by a panel headed by Chairman Justice BS Chauhan after the Supreme Court ordered it to study the possibility while hearing a case between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Association of Bihar & Ors.
The commission had taken opinion from students, experts and public in general before coming to the conclusion that regulation was needed more than prohibition. It has also proposed that the income earned from these activities should be made taxable. If the proposal goes through, it could lead to a windfall for the government.
“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,” reads the report.
While pondering over the question, the commission looked at examples from Mahabharata as well.
“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,” noted the commission.
At present, betting is legal only on horse racing, and it is taxed at 28 per cent under GST. The commission recommended that like the exemption for horse-racing as a game of skill, “other skill-centric games may also be exempted from the blanket prohibition on gambling”.
The commission has also recommended amending the laws regulating forex and India’s FDI policy to allow investments in the casino and online gaming industry.
It also proposed strong regulations and laid down several checks and balances to avoid misuse if betting is indeed legalised.
It has stated in its report that such activities should be offered only by operators from India possessing valid licences granted by a game licensing authority.
The commission recommended a classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling.’ ‘Proper gambling’ would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while ‘small gambling’ would be for the low income groups, it said.
Restrictions on amount should be prescribed while using electronic money facilities like credit cards, debit cards, and net banking. Gambling websites should not solicit pornography, it said.
For those who would participate in gambling and betting, there should be a cap on the number of transactions that they can indulge in monthly/yearly etc.
It has also proposed that all betting and gambling activities should be linked to the operator’s and participant or player’s Aadhaar Card/PAN Card, to ensure “enhanced transparency and state supervision”.
Also, transactions need to be cashless, “with penal provisions for cash transactions”, it said.
Those who receive “subsidies or do not pay taxes” have been excluded from participating in such betting and gambling.
Making betting and gambling legal has been debated for long. Estimates about the size of the gambling market in India vary, with a 2010 KPMG report suggesting that it could be $60 billion, but more recent studies peg the value to be much higher, said a News18 report.
According to Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security, the illegal betting market in India is worth $150 billion, or roughly Rs 9.6 lakh crore, the News18 report said. Most of it is via local bookmakers and unregulated offshore websites.
The government could earn tens of thousands of crores as tax revenue by legalising sports betting. Additionally, if online gambling and casinos are also permitted, the estimated tax revenue would be much higher.
In addition to revenue generation, a legal and regulated gambling sector will also help in creating large-scale employment opportunities.
Parliament may also enact a model law for regulating gambling that may be adopted by the states or in the alternative, Parliament may legislate in exercise of its powers under Articles 249 or 252 of the Constitution. In case legislation is made under Article 252, states other than the consenting states will be free to adopt the same, it states.
The commission said it feels that allowing FDI in the industry would 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.
Justice BS Chauhan stated that with time law changes and thus the need is for regulation rather than blanket prohibition. Quoting Justice DP Madon, the commission stated “as the society changes, the law cannot remain immutable” and that “the law exists to serve the needs of the society which is governed by it.”
The primary law on which states have framed their gambling legislation is an archaic, British-era law called the Public Gambling Act, 1867. Ironically, while India follows a British-era prohibitionist statute, the UK legalised and regulated various forms of gambling and betting many decades ago.
The commission report referred to epic Mahabharat to justify its call for regulation of gambling.
“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,” the report signed by Justice Chauhan and five other commission members observed.
The commission said that even as Indian society had traditionally frowned upon gambling, the argument made for ‘revenue over morality’ lacked merit. It reasoned that online gambling and betting have acquired a global presence.
“Such activities, if properly regulated would ensure transparency in the market, as 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,” the commission report said.
Chhattisgarh: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hits out at Congress, accuses party of dividing Hindus
PM Modi quoted his predecessor PM Manmohan Singh and said the minorities had the first right to the country’s resources. PM Modi added Congress is now saying the population of the community will decide who will have the first right to the country’s resources.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed Congress after the Bihar government’s caste census results were declared. He said the Congress party is dividing the Hindus as the poor people formed the largest part of the population. PM Modi was addressing a rally in Poll bound Chhattisgarh Jagdalpur
PM Modi quoted his predecessor PM Manmohan Singh and said the minorities had the first right to the country’s resources. PM Modi added Congress is now saying the population of the community will decide who will have the first right to the country’s resources. PM Modi asked if the Congress party wanted to decrease the rights of the minority. He further inquired whether the Congress party wanted to remove the minorities.
PM Modi continued to his attack on the Congress and asked whether the Hindus who formed the largest section of India’s population come forward and take their rights. PM Modi further added the Congress party is not run by its people and has been outsourced. He said senior Congress leaders did not have their say in the decisions made by the Congress party.
PM Modi said the Congress party is trying to divide the Hindus. He added the Congress party is dividing the poor. They are trying to destroy the country. PM Modi slammed the Congress party for playing with the emotions of the poor. He added the Congress party has divided India on the basis of caste lines for sixty years.
The Bihar government released the findings of its caste census. According to the survey extremely Backward classes (EBC’s) and other backward classes (OBC’s) constitute 63 percent of total population of Bihar. The Congress party has promised a caste based census in the country if it came to power at the Centre.
India-Canada ties: India asks Canada to withdraw 40 diplomats by October 10
Canada has currently a total of 62 diplomats in India. New Delhi has instructed Canada to decrease the number to 41 at their high commission.
India has asked Canada to withdraw around 40 diplomats by October 10 as the diplomatic row between the two nations over Ottawa’s allegations of New Delhi’s involvement in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada. According to reports India has threatened to remove the diplomatic immunity of any candian diplomat if they remained in India after October 10.
Canada has currently a total of 62 diplomats in India. New Delhi has instructed Canada to decrease the number to 41 at their high commission. Boehm said PM Justin Trudeau does not expect to back down. He added India sees Canada as an easy mark. He said India is aware of Ottawa’s limited capacity to retaliate because of the presence of a minority government in Canada.
Trudeau is the leader of the Liberal Party. He shares power with Canadian Sikh leader and Indian origin Jagmeet Singh who is the head of the New Democratic Party in Canada. India had previously said it wanted an equal number of diplomats posted in the country and Canada. At the High commission in Delhi Canada has many diplomats compared to what India has in Ottawa.
Diplomatic crisis between Canada and India emerged after Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said the Canadian agencies have been actively pursuing credible allegation of a potential link the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar and the Indian government. India had stated Nijjar as a terrorist in 2020. India rejected Canada’s allegations and called them motivated and absurd.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was the chief of the banned Khalistan Tiger Force (KTF). He was shot dead outside a Gurudwara in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada in the month of June. Ottawa expelled an Indian official over the case. India in response expelled a Canadian diplomat. Visa services were also expelled by the Indian government for Canadian citizens.
Earthquake of 6.2 magnitude on Richter scale shakes up Delhi-NCR, North India
Reports said the tremors were felt acutely by people residing in high rises and many fled by staircase to the groundfloor and were awaiting more aftershocks.
Strong tremors lasting almost a minute rocked parts of Delhi-National Capital Region, and several northern states after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake at its epicentre hit Nepal.
Reports said the tremors were felt acutely by people residing in high-rises and many fled by staircase to the groundfloor and were awaiting more aftershocks. Similar sights were visible in the region’s office districts. The tremors were also felt in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand just after 2.45 pm. According to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority website, “Delhi is located in zone IV which has fairly high seismicity where the general occurrence of earthquakes is of 5-6 magnitude, a few of magnitude 6-7 and occasionally of 7-8 magnitude. Delhi thus lies among the high-risk areas.” The site adds that Delhi and the union territory region has already seen five earthquakes of the 5.5 to 6.7 scale since 1720.
There has been no report of damage to life and property as of now and reports are awaited on the situation in Nepal. Seismologists said the epicentre was 5 km underground in Bhatekhola in Nepal. The Himalayan country has already faced a massive quake on April 25, 2015 of 7.8 magnitude. Some 9,000 people died and injured more than 20,000.
According to the National German Research Centre for Geo sciences has said that magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck Nepal region. According to National Siesmological Centre an earthquake measuring 5.3 magnitude hit western parts of Nepal. No loss of property or life has been reported.
The earthquake was recorded with epicenter at Talkot area of Bajhang district, 700 km west of Kathmandu. Two earthquakes of magnitude 4.6 and 6.2 on the Richter scale jolted Nepal. The two tremors were felt within half an hour time. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya came out of Nirman Bhawan with others, as strong tremors hit different parts of North India.