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Congress Parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor introduced the Sports Betting Bill in Lok Sabha

Previously, the Law Commission had released its 276th Report to the Government, titled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including in Cricket in India’.

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Shashi Tharoor eyes on enhancing the integrity of sports by regulating sports betting and penalising match-fixing. The Congressman, known as the man of big words especially due to his massive vocabulary, has been in the news for introducing multiple contemporary bills. Earlier this week introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha that penalises marital rape.

A Private Member’s bill was introduced by the Thiruvananthapuram MP in the lower house of parliament on December 28, 2018. Previously, the Law Commission had released its 276th Report to the Government, titled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including in Cricket in India’. The report suggested that match-fixing and fraud should be criminalized. In addition, legalising sports betting under strict regulation was eyed by the parliament.

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The Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018: Key Issues

The aforementioned bill aims to effectuate a regulatory setup to confine online sports gaming within pre-guided rules and also to criminalize sports fraud in order to enhance and maintain integrity of sports in India. This private member’s bill aims at reducing fraud related to sports and prevent manipulation of sports games or match-fixing. The Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill focuses on a couple of key issues-

The Bill demands an exclusive seven-member gaming commission to be formed. This legal commission will be responsible for monitoring the online sports gaming scene. It will primarily govern and license the online sports gaming market. Any number of specified rules and regulations can be introduced by this commission.

The second key issue that the Bill focuses on is maintaining the integrity of sports. The aim is to prevent any sporting event or match to be compromised due to match-fixing or manipulation. The parliament is eyeing to eliminate any other form of sports fraud as well.

The Bill defines online sports gaming as placing a bet on the whole or partial outcome of a sports match via a telecommunication device. This includes mobile devices like smartphones to desktop computers. Although no set of rules have been decided as of yet, the potential restrictions that the commission can place include the banning of minors from playing, introducing a maximum charge for betting fees, also limiting access to credit for wagering.

Expressing his views regarding the bill, Dr. Shashi Tharoor said, “The integrity of sports is essential to preserve its beneficial aspects. Sports integrity is increasingly under threat due to unabated acts of fraud and corruption. My Bill addresses this issue by criminalizing sports fraud, including match fixing and spot fixing.”

“The law must adopt a regulatory approach and effectively demarcate the lines of permissible conduct in the field of betting or gaming in connection with a sporting event. My Bill provides the framework to make this possible,” he added.

~ Written by Sritama Panda

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