The Law Commission of India has issued a public notice inviting suggestions from stakeholders and members of the general public on whether gambling and betting should be legalised.
The Law Commission in its notice has stated that the Supreme Court while passing an order on the Lodha committee recommendations had directed the Law Commission and the government to consider the suggestion of legalising betting.
The Commission also noted that since the issue of gambling and betting is linked, it would study the possibility of legalising both betting and gambling and do a comprehensive study of the existing laws. The notice states that there is a strong case that legalising gambling and betting will earn tax revenues and makes the following preliminary observations on the issue of betting and gambling:
Various media reports time and again point out that betting and gambling, though not legal in India, is practised across the country clandestinely. These reports argue that many families are rendered bankrupt and many people are behind the bars owing to these practices. Strict rules against betting and gambling have not necessarily acted as a deterrent. Online gambling and betting is another area which has become very difficult to curb. It is understood that a lot of money is involved in illegal gambling business, creating almost a parallel economy, converting legally earned money into black money that is drained to gambling operators in other countries online.
The Commission has been mulling this idea for quite some time now. Discussions were initiated with some of the stakeholders and the Commission is working towards a possible report. Will legalizing betting and gambling help in curbing the illegal activities undertaken by the citizens of our country in this regard? Will licensing such activities help the Government earn substantial revenue and generate employment? How far will legalizing betting and gambling be morally correct in the Indian circumstances? What could be a possible model by which the people engaging in such activities can be safeguarded against bankruptcy? If legalized, should foreign betting and gambling companies be allowed to have a foothold in the country? These are certain basic areas that need to be addressed, along with any other issues that may come up while considering the matter.
Law Commission Chairman Justice (retired) BS Chauhan has attended several discussion sessions with stakeholders on the issue of legalising gambling and betting. Justice Chauhan had also visited ICE in February this year to understand the regulatory framework of gambling and betting in other International jurisdictions.
The Commission has given a time period of thirty days within which any person can send his/her suggestions through post or email.