20.6 C
New York
Sunday, April 14, 2024

Legalise sports betting, say experts

Top speakers at a conference on regulating sports betting in the country backed the idea, saying it would keep criminals at bay and yield revenue to government coffers. The speakers were mirroring an abiding thought in the International Olympic Committee and the International Cricket Council in recent times.

Justice Mukul Mudgal

The conference, organised by FICCI on Wednesday, saw Justice Mukul Mudgal emphasize that betting on sports existed at an ‘exponentially’ high level in the country.”Estimates show that the betting market in India stands at Rs 300,000 crore. The threats posed from this unregulated betting are immense; the society becomes vulnerable as revenue from these activities is used to finance criminal activities, the person placing the bet is at the mercy of the bookies as they have no legal right to have their bets realized. Besides, the sport federations and the government lose an effective tool to detect and curb match-fixing in sports,” he said.Regulation of betting would lead to “minimizing the risks associated with betting and taxation of such activities would yield revenue to the government of over Rs 12,000 crore,” he added.One common question on the minds of people was addressed at the conference: will regulation of betting help in curbing match-fixing?”Regulation can curb, even root out the malaise. Firstly, any unusual betting pattern on a match is reported by the betting operator to the authorities and the teams for immediate action. Secondly, once such patterns are noticed, the betting process on the match can be voided (cancelled). Thirdly, since the procedure is legal and transparent, the authorities can use the details about irregular betting to collar the criminals,” sports law expert Vidushpat Singhania said at the conference.Gambling law expert Carl A Rohsler too felt regulation was a must. “It will keep a check on criminality as gambling operators will be identified and monitored along with the clients they deal with. Fair and transparent regulations will be established and specified which types of gambling are permitted. Also vulnerable youngsters can be protected from getting exposed to gambling.”Leading tax attorney V Lakshmikumaran said: “The greatest advantage is that there will be accountability for the large amounts of money transferred through illegal channels leading to reduction in cases of match-fixing, money-laundering and crimes. The question now is how to tax the money involved in gambling and need to devise a system which encourages betting operators to function openly.”Earlier, Justice Mudgal released a knowledge report which threw more light on the issue. “India’s position in relation to gambling has always been complex. Betting is permitted on horse racing tracks and accounts. But it is an open secret that there has always been a problem of unregulated betting which accounts for a much more substantial sum,” it said.Pointing to the menace of online gambling and betting, the report said there was little evidence that government measures had been effective.

Related Articles

Latest Articles