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AIGF plans to approach NITI Aayog for legalising betting

Contending that legalising sports betting was one of the ways to deal with paucity of funds faced by sports bodies in the country, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) is mulling petitioning the Niti Aayog in this regard.

By: | New Delhi | Published: September 23, 2016 7:59 PM
This comes close on the heels of Niti Aayog's 20-point plan of action which identifies 10 priority sports with a target to win 50 medals at the 2024 Olympics. (Express Photo) This comes close on the heels of Niti Aayog’s 20-point plan of action which identifies 10 priority sports with a target to win 50 medals at the 2024 Olympics. (Express Photo)

Contending that legalising sports betting was one of the ways to deal with paucity of funds faced by sports bodies in the country, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) is mulling petitioning the Niti Aayog in this regard.

The newly-launched apex body to manage the gaming industry in the country, has already sent recommendations in this regard to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and cited the example of Britain, which finished second in the Rio Olympics medals tally, benefitting from betting-permitting laws, an AIGF release said on Friday.

This comes close on the heels of Niti Aayog’s 20-point plan of action which identifies 10 priority sports with a target to win 50 medals at the 2024 Olympics.

“While I glanced through media reports, one headline which caught my interest was about the Sports budget allocated to Agra school kids by the government which comes to 30 paise per student for approximately 3 lakh students. No wonder, with a budget allocation like this, India gets to witness the kind of performance we saw at Rio Olympics this year,” AIGF CEO Roland Landers told IANS.

“This clearly indicates that we have learnt nothing from the latest Olympics fiasco. If things don’t change, we will have another appalling performance in the next Olympics in spite of the fact that the country holds an immense talent base.”

According to Landers, legalisation of betting will help the government earn a revenue of Rs.19,000 crore per year which can then be utilised for training Indian athletes and for various talent development programmes at the grassroots level.

“It is important to note that various industry bodies and jurists like Justice R.M. Lodha have recommended legalising sports betting as an important measure to improve sporting facilities and eliminate fraud/cheating in sports. A report prepared by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) indicates that Rs.19,000 crore can be earned annually by imposing a 20 percent tax on sports betting and gaming activities,” he said.

“Although sports, betting and gambling fall in the state list, the central government can provide advisories/suggestions to all the states and implement this idea. Further, the central government can also start the process of framing a model law under Article 252 of the Constitution on regulating sports betting and providing better sporting facilities,” Landers added.

“What we are proposing is nothing inimitable and we have already seen countries like Britain benefit from such collection of funds which are utilised for the promotion of sport in Britain. It targeted 350 million pounds ($454.3 million) on supporting participants in the Rio Olympics and Paralympics.”

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