The Law Commission of India has sought the suggestions of the BCCI’s member units on legalising betting on cricket in India. The commission is tasked by the Supreme Court to undertake the study after the Lodha Committee’s recommendaitons that betting on cricket be made legal in India.
The Commission would examine both betting and gambling given their “intertwining nature”, ESPNcricinfo has quoted the Law Commission member secretary Sanjay Singh as saying.
“While the Law Commission has been reaching out to the various stakeholders to seek their observations and suggestions, it considers that the views of your association will be valuable in formulating its recommendations on betting,” Mr Singh has written in a letter. “I would, therefore, request you to forward the views of the association on the matter to the Commission at the earliest, as we would like to submit our report in line with the directions of the Supreme Court, at an early date.”
Many respondents appearing before the Committee have opined that legalising betting would benefit the sport and the country’s economy, the Committee has mentioned its report. “It cannot be overlooked that the worldwide legal sports betting market is worth over $400 billion,” the Lodha Committee has mentioned in its report “However, with the interest of cricket being foremost in our minds, it would always be necessary to protect and invoke transparency from those involved in the game.”
The Committee, however, has also strongly recommended to adopt the following safeguards before legalizing betting in cricket.
“a) Regulatory watchdogs would be necessary to ensure that the betting houses as well as those transacting there are strictly monitored, failing which their registrations would be susceptible to cancellation;
b) The Players, Administrators and others closely associated with the sport would be required to furnish the details of their incomes and assets for the sake of transparency;
c) Licenses would have to be issued to those placing the bets as well, with age and identification details recorded;
d) Strict penal sanctions would have to be imposed on those transgressing the license and other requirements.”
A BCCI official, according to ESPNcricinfo, said that legalising betting and gambling was a complex argument that required adequate spadework. “If you want to do it and make it successful, there is a lot to be done because it can’t be half-baked. If you legalise betting, then who runs the betting houses? Will it be done by the government or will there be certain companies? Is there going to be a structure in place for those companies? Have you thought of a system where you need gambling de-addiction centres? There are not enough liquor de-addiction centres in India, forget betting.”
For now, legalizing betting on cricket in India remains a complex issue. Horse racing is the only sport in the country to have legal bets.