Cricket balls are seen during a practice session (Photographer: Jack Atley/Bloomberg News)

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.

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.

Parliament may also enact a model law for regulating gambling that may be adopted by the states or in the alternative, Parliament may legislate in exercise of its powers under Articles 249 or 252 of the Constitution. In case legislation is made under Article 252, states other than the consenting states will be free to adopt the same, it states.

The commission has also recommended linking Aadhaar or PAN card of an individual indulging in betting and gambling, and making the transaction cashless to regulate illegal activities such as money laundering.

The commission has also recommended amending the laws regulating forex and India's FDI policy to allow investments in the casino and online gaming industry.

“The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 and the Rules...made thereunder as also the Foreign Direct Investment Policy...may suitably be amended to encourage Foreign Direct Investment in the casino/online gaming industry, lawfully permitting technological collaborations, licensing and brand sharing agreements, etc,” it has said.

The commission feels allowing FDI in the industry would bring substantial amounts of investment to those states that decide to permit casinos, propelling the growth of the tourism and hospitality industries, while also enabling such states to generate higher revenue and employment opportunities.

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Watch this discussion with Hardik Dhebar, group CFO, Delta Corp and Ranjana Adhikari, co-head of media entertainment and gaming practice at Nishith Desai Associates on the implications.