Congress’ Thiruvananthapuram Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor has introduced the Sports (Online Gaming & Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018 to the Lok Sabha.
The bill focusses on legalising sports gambling across the country and also to ensure that the integrity of sports is maintained.
The bill deals with two separate but connected issues: (i) penalising match-fixing and manipulation of domestic and international sporting events; and (ii) creating an over-arching national regulatory and licensing framework for overseeing and permitting online sports gaming in the country, subject to numerous safeguards and guidelines, writes Jay Sayta, founder of Glaws.in, a website on gambling laws.
The bill wants a special gaming 7 member commission to be formed who will be responsible for governing the online sports gaming market and maintaining the integrity of sports and not allowing any sporting event or match to be compromised to due to match fixing or any other form of sports fraud.
The bill also mentions creating an offence of ‘sports fraud’ which includes manipulation of the result of a domestic or international sporting event in exchange of illegal gratification , the disclosure of inside information, misrepresentation of a sports participants age e tc.
Online Sports Gaming:
According to the Bill, online sports gaming is defined as placing a bet on the whole or partial outcome of a game via a telecommunication device like a smartphone or a computer.
The proposed legislation espouses to impose various restrictions on betting on sports matches which includes limiting access to online sports gaming websites to people of certain age groups like minors, the fees to be charged for betting, restriction on giving credit facilities for betting etc.
The Bill will also allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) including foreign technological collaboration in licensed Online Sports Gaming websites.
When moneycontrol.com asked Jay Sayta about how big is the sports gaming market, he said, “ Studies suggest that the size of the sports betting market in India is anywhere between $60-130 billion. Even by conservative estimates, at least Rs 15,000-20,000 crore can be earned by the government annually, by way of taxes (mainly GST). Allowing the sports gaming industry to be carried out in a streamlined manner also opens up avenues for employment and technological innovation.”
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