Lodha Committee recommends legalizing sports betting

A Supreme Court appointed committee headed by former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha on improving the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has recommended legalizing sports betting as one of the measures for improving cricket administration.

The committee was tasked with recommending changes to prevent sporting fraud, conflict of interests, streamlining the working of BCCI to make it more responsive to the expectations of the public at large and to bring transparency in practices and procedures.

In its final report, which was submitted to the Supreme Court today, the Lodha committee makes several recommendations relating to appointment and elections of office-bearers of BCCI and state associations, participation of former cricketers and professionals, limiting tenures of office-bearers, encouraging greater transparency and accounting standards

Included is a chapter entitled ‘Match-fixing and betting’ which recommends not only legalizing sports betting as has been done in the United Kingdom, but also making match or spot fixing a crime punishable by law.

Among the recommendations were that a regulatory watchdog should be set up, that players, administrators and others closely associated with the sport would be required to furnish details of their incomes and assets, that licenses should be issued to those placing bets as well as age and identification details recorded, and that strict penal sanctions would have to be imposed on those transgressing the license and other requirements.

The observations of the Lodha-committee report will be treated by the Supreme Court as non-binding recommendations.