Should betting and gambling be legalised in India? The Law Commission wants to know. The panel, which advises the government on complex legal issues, also wants to know whether legalising betting and gambling will help in curbing illegal activities in the country. Will licencing such activities help the government earn substantial revenue and generate employment, it seeks to know. Also, the commission has asked the general public to tell how far will legalising betting and gambling be “morally correct” in the Indian circumstances. “What could be the possible model by which people engaging in such activities can be safeguarded against bankruptcy? If legalised, should foreign betting and gambling companies be allowed to have a foothold in the country,” it has asked.
While hearing the BCCI Vs Cricket Association of Bihar case, the Supreme Court had mandated the Law Commission in 2016 to study the possibility of legalising betting in India. “While considering the issue, the Commission discerned that gambling is also a subject which is very closely associated with betting. While considering legalisation of betting, leaving aside gambling may render the whole exercise futile,” panel Chairman Justice B S Chauhan (retd) wrote in his appeal seeking public views on the issue.
Justice Chauhan was in London in February to attend a conference on gambling, lottery and betting. He had asked regulators of countries where gambling and betting are legal to send inputs for the Commission to study. If at all a law comes up, it would require amending a few statutes like the Indian Contract Act.