In a recent development, the Law Commission of India, the country’s top tier law panel is pondering the viability of legalizing casinos, sports betting and poker. The news came out in Hindustan Times and states that if realized, such an action could regulate the presently unofficial sports betting industry worth INR 3,00,000 crores, along with bringing in thousands of more crores in revenues.

The move comes following the major scandals India has faced in the domain of cricket with match-fixing. The Lodha Committee had recommended that sports betting be legalized to prevent criminal activities which were rampant in the country.

A member of the commission conceded that it was hard to curb gambling, especially on the Internet. “ It (betting and gambling) is already happening through the internet and it is hard to stop in the absence of an updated law,” he has said.

It was reported earlier that Justice BS Chauhan, Chairman of the Commission attended a three-day conference in London which featured topics such as betting markets, lotteries, besides an international conference on casinos to study how to take the idea further.

The London conference was partnered by Indian business body FICCI, which has been continuously championing for such legalization.

Maj Rajpal Singh, Director, FICCI said, “Regulation and taxation can yield large amounts of revenue for the exchequer and check crime.” It is anticipated that such legalization could bag the government INR 12,000 to INR 19,000 crores in taxes alone every year.

However, legal issues notwithstanding betting in India has not yet been considered a socially acceptable activity and talking about the ramifications, a source said, “ There are moral and ethical dimensions involved that have kept gambling and betting illegal so far. We have to see if betting can encourage match fixing. The regulatory frame work will have to be pretty strict.