Allow gambling, betting on sports as regulated, taxable activities: Law panel

The Law Commission today recommended that gambling and betting on sports, including cricket, be allowed as regulated activities taxable under the direct and indirect tax regimes and used as a source for attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).

The commission’s report, “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India”, recommends a number of changes in the law for regulating betting and generating tax revenues from it.

Law commission recommendations:

The revenue from gambling should be taxable under laws like the Income Tax Act, the Goods, and Services Tax Act.

Transactions between gamblers and operators should be linked to their Aadhaar and PAN cards so that the government could keep an eye on them.

There is a need for classification of ‘proper gambling’ and ‘small gambling.’ Proper gambling would be for the rich who play for high stakes, while small gambling would be for the low-income groups.

The government should introduce a cap on the number of gambling transactions for each individual, that is, monthly, half-yearly and annual.

Restrictions on amount should be prescribed while using electronic money facilities like credit cards, debit cards, and net-banking. Gambling websites should also not solicit pornography.

Regulations need to protect vulnerable groups, minors and those below poverty line, those who draw their sustenance from social welfare measures, government subsidies and Jan Dhan account holders from exploitation through gambling.

Foreign Exchange Management and Foreign Direct Investment laws and policies should be amended to encourage investment in the casino/online gaming industry. This would propel tourism and employment.

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