To Legalize Betting Or Not?

Senior Advocate of Supreme Court K.T.S. Tulsi shares his views on the issue of whether to legalize betting in India

Betting is a game of knowledge and skill; match-fixing breaks the trust of sports lovers, which is one of the major difference between the two, says veteran lawyer and now a law-maker, K. T. S. Tulsi. He was speaking at the BW Global Legal Summit held in Delhi on December 12.

 Terming match-fixing as a “fraud” on the game-lover, Tulsi, who is a Member of Parliament and Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India apart from being the President, Criminal Justice Society of India said spot-fixing or match-fixing interferes with the integrity of the game as it attempts to change the course of the game.

Citing the Lodha Committee report of 2016, Tulsi said betting only serves as a general malaise present in different sections of the society whereas Spot-fixing interferes with the integrity of the game. The Lodha Committee report, in fact, bats for legalizing betting as it will reduce black-money and generate sufficient revenue for the government, the report had argued.

Tulsi pointed out to several locations within India where sufficient betting opportunities exist. “There are two operational casinos in five-star hotels in Sikkim and four offshore casinos. Over a dozen on-shore casinos operate in Goa. Horse racing in Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Mysore, Hyderabad, and Bangalore is also allowed,” he says.

Sharing some international examples of countries where betting is legalized, chance plays a vital role, said Tulsi. “In countries where betting is legalized, chance had to predominate over skill to establish a prohibited lottery.”

“Russia and Denmark declared poker a game of skill. In the UK, the game of chance is played legally in 165 casinos. In the Gutshot Poker Club Case in England, the Court ruled poker to be a game of luck and so subject to gaming act,” Tulsi says arguing that even post legalizing betting, often the matter has to stand the test of law before the judicial system, as it has happened around the globe.

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