Legalized Sports Betting Sought In India

Development could bring considerable tax revenues

This week in India, a retired judge Mukul Mudgal and former test cricketer Kirti Azad called on the authorities to introduce legalized sports betting, advising that such a move would bring in tax revenues that could be a significant help in development projects.

At a conference titled 'Regulating Sports Betting in India - A Vice to be Tamed', Mudgal expressed opinion that legalized and regulated sports betting could actually be a deterrent to illegal betting syndicates.

"If betting is legalised, the country stands to get close to 12,000 crores in tax. If this is regulated, this revenue can go into the development of sports. Rules can be drafted through income tax regulations," he said, adding:

"If betting on horse racing is legal then it should be applicable to all sports," the former judge said. "FIFA has an advanced match betting warning system. If an unusual betting pattern is seen they immediately close down the market."

As for Azad, a member of the 1983 World Cup winning Indian cricket team, he opined: "Before we think of regulating betting in Indian sports, there is a need to regulate the sport federations and associations in the country.

"Instances have come up where there is no accountability of money being transferred from unknown sources to a sportsperson's account, or new bank accounts being opened in foreign lands without prior permissions from the concerned authorities like Reserve Bank in India," said Azad, adding that cricketers suspended in a recent corruption scandal should be prosecuted by the police.

"The five cricketers who were charged of fixing should have been taken directly to the court rather than BCCI conducting an internal investigation. They violated the laws of the land," said the former cricketer.

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