New Delhi: The head of Supreme Court appointed three-member probe panel to investigate IPL spot-fixing and betting (Retired) Justice Mukul Mudgal gave several reasons for regulating sports betting. He feels that India's law regarding betting on sporting activities is "paradoxical" and its regulation should be treated with a sense of urgency. (Read: IPL spot-fixing probe won't be an eyewash, says Justice Mudgal)
"The betting law is paradoxical in India. You can bet on the skill of horses and skill of a jockey but you can't bet on skills of a Sachin Tendulkar or a Sardar Singh," Justice Mudgal said while addressing a conference at FICCI on 'Regulating Sports Betting and Sports Law'.
Justice Mudgal also said that Indian government can earn a lot of revenue if sports betting is legalized and made taxable.
"Betting market is staggering in India. The amount of revenue that the government can earn by making it taxable can go a long away in helping to erase the current fiscal deficit," he explained during the speech.
He also said that the rate at which the winnings from betting should be taxed can be decided by the government. He felt that 20 per cent on the winnings would not be high, especially considering that in some jurisdiction like Austria it is at 28 per cent and in the UK it is up to 25 per cent. He, however, cautioned that any regulation that may be proposed at a future date needs to be well thought out and should be done after extensive consultation with all the stakeholders whilst evaluating the social conditions.
The former Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court further explained that how regularization of sports betting can stop the underworld from generating black money wich is used for all illegal purposes.
"Without regulated betting it is very difficult to detect and conduct investigation on sporting fraud," Justice Mudgal emphasised.
The legal luminary opined that one of the biggest threats to the integrity of sports besides doping is sporting fraud.
Sporting fraud being the umbrella term which would cover all kinds of activities which are a threat to the integrity of sports like match fixing, spot fixing, tanking, point shaving amongst others.
Mr. KV Vishwanathan, Additional Solicitor General of India, who was also present in the conference said: "There are pros and cons involved in legalizing and regulating betting. A committee should make an in-depth study of the various aspects and come out with a solution, keeping in mind the fact that illegal bookmaking exists. While mechanically copying the west may be suicidal since our social background is different, letting illegal bookmaking to be rampant will also not be appropriate."
(with PTI inputs)