SC to hear petition on sports betting

The Supreme Court on Friday has agreed to hear a petition regarding the legalization of sports betting in the country, local media reports.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and A M Khanwilkar agreed to hear a PIL which seeks for the government to frame law that would allow and regulate betting in sports.

Senior advocate R S Suri and lawyer Reepak Kansal, who appeared for the petitioner, told the bench that the legalization of betting would be beneficial to the country’s coffers and enable the government to curb corrupt activities such as match-fixing in sports.

“The calls for regulating betting have been made because unregulated betting is an immense loss to the country and also because regulation of this activity would enable the government to distinguish between harmless betting and corrupt activities like match-fixing. The total betting market (in India) is Rs 3 lakh crore,” said the petitioner, quoted by Times of India.

“Regulating the existing system will weed out the undesirable elements in the betting business and will bring more credible and genuine players over whom the government can have more control. As the business is unregulated, its players indulge in shady transactions. It is accepted that there are huge crime syndicates and mafia that control these business. Most of these syndicates are not even managed from within the country,” the petition said.

The legalization of sports is already being examined by the Law Commission of India.

“We are examining all legal aspects of betting in sports,” Justice (retired) Balbir Singh Chauhan, chairman, Law Commission of India, told the Hindustan Times in March.

“Once we make up our mind and prepare a skeleton in what direction we should proceed and what legal problems may arise, we will write to all the stakeholders.”

“In many countries betting in sports is legal but situations are different there. We will study all the aspects,” said Justice Chauhan.