Exclusive: Thiruvananthapuram MP and senior Congress leader Dr. Shashi Tharoor is going to introduce a Private Member’s Bill to regulate sports betting and penalise match-fixing in the lower house of parliament later today, as per the revised list of business issued by the Lok Sabha secretariat.
The Bill, titled the Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018 is aimed to introduce an effective regime to maintain the integrity of sports in India by preventing and penalising sports fraud and for regulation of online sports gaming, as per the Lok Sabha’s agenda.
The private member’s bill is expected to focus on defining and creating a new offence of sports fraud that will prevent manipulation of sports matches. The Bill may also establish a national level regulatory framework to license and regulate online sports betting with certain restrictions and guidelines.
The Law Commission in its 276th Report titled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including in Cricket in India’ submitted to the government in July this year had recommended that match-fixing and sporting fraud should be made a criminal offence with stringent penalties. The law panel had also noted that if betting and gambling cannot be effectively banned, then parliament or state legislatures should consider legalising it under a strict regulatory framework and subject to several guidelines.
Subject to smooth functioning of the Lok Sabha today, Dr. Tharoor’s Bill is scheduled to come up for introduction and a brief speech. The reaction of parliamentarians from various parties, particularly of the treasury benches would be interesting to see, especially since the legislation deals with something that was recommended by the Law Commission of India.