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India may categorise cricket betting as game of skill

 

India advised to legalise sports betting

A GAMING organisation has released a white paper suggesting cricket should be deemed a game of skill in India.

In response to a public consultation on the legalisation of sports betting, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has presented a white paper recommending a central piece of legislation for online skill gaming.

The AIGF is also calling for cricket betting to be classed as a skill-based game.

India’s gambling laws are quite complex since the country prohibits nearly all forms of gambling under the Public Gambling Act, 1867. Rules surrounding online casino gambling in India are somewhat vague due to the age of the legislation, however.

Additionally, some card games – which are classed as gambling games elsewhere in the world – such as poker and rummy are legal to play as they are classed as skill-based games in India.

When it comes to sports betting in the country, the pastime is prohibited.

Betting on horse racing is legal since it is classed as a game of skill – the Supreme Court determined horse racing betting requires skill.

But this hasn’t stopped a number of residents in Indian states from placing bets on sports matches, particularly cricket. And since the market is unregulated, many have engaged in match-fixing.

Ultimately, the unregulated market jeopardises the integrity of Indian sport.

As a result, the Supreme Court set up a Law Commission panel, which requested a public consultation on sports betting.

We reported last week that the European Sports Security Association (ESSA) advised the Commission to legalise sports betting, while also recommending boundaries, such as banning live betting.

Following the ESSA, the AIGF has presented a white paper to the Law Commission as a result of six months worth of research.

It recommends legalising online skill gaming and enforcing it in all Indian states. It also recommends classing cricket betting as a skill-based game.

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The white paper relies on a number of international examples to support the AIGF’s arguments too.

AIGF CEO, Roland Landers, explained the reasoning behind the recommendations to Indian Express.

Landers said that since “horse racing is a game of skill and betting on horses also requires skill as determined by the Supreme Court” the AIGF is “proposing the same for cricket.”

While he did say the same could be argued for sports betting, he revealed the AIGF is focusing on cricket betting.

When asked how cricket betting could be sanctioned in the country, Landers said that a National Gaming Commission should be “formed which could determine what sports would fall under the purview of games of skill.”

“States interpret this differently and so a central legislation is required,” Landers said.

“Rummy, online rummy, horse racing, chess have been approved by the Supreme Court but some states have questioned that, especially Telangana.

“So how do we deal with that? We will have to have some central legislation listing out each and every game of skill and defining it, which the states would have to abide by.”

As a result, the AIGF has proposed the Online Skill Gaming Act which would regulate skill-based games and monitor their levels of “performance, training, [and] stamina among many other things.”

When asked whether legalising sports betting would actually prevent match fixing Landers responded with a well-researched answer.

He referred to legal betting jurisdictions, and stated that if there is “an irregular pattern of betting” the bookmakers would be the first to know. They would then inform gambling regulators and authorities.

He added that since bookmakers have been banned in the country, there is “no process to curb” match fixing.

The AIGF even addressed responsible gambling practices, which advanced gaming jurisdictions employ, in the white paper, with Landers revealing “there would be checks and balances on the age limit.”

He said to ensure the punter is of age, they would have to link the identification service, Know Your Customer. He added that there would be restrictions such as the amount they could bet, suggesting no more than 10 percent of the punter’s income.

“The system will stop you if you are underage or going beyond your means,” he said.

He added that the system would also pick up on punters who are betting for an extended period of time, stating “you’ll be stopped” if you’re gambling for an “extraordinary” amount of time.