India’s former general secretary of the Samajwadi party and current Rajya Sabha member of parliament, Amar Singh, wants answers and he wants them soon. According to an exclusive report in GLaws, Singh has put Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Law and Justice, against the ropes in order to publicly state if the Law Commission of India has proposed legalized betting and gambling in the country.
Prasad is expected to answer the question tomorrow. He will also have to provide details of any proposal, as well as any action that the Law Commission suggests be taken by India’s government with respect to the proposal. Singh’s questions are part of a “starred question” system that requires responses be given.
This past July two other members of parliament from Rajya Sabha – Jose K. Mani of the Kerala Congress and Vijila Sathyananth from the AIADMK – also posed starred questions on the subject of gambling and betting. Since the topic is being raised once again, it would appear that not much headway has been made.
At the time, the Law Commission had delivered its report on the subject, called the “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including in Cricket in India,’ to Prasad. Prasad only said that the recommendations were “under consideration” by the government and there was virtually no more movement.
During the same parliamentary session, almost as if there had been some collusion, the Union Minister of State for Law and Justice, P.P. Chaudhary, gave almost the exact same response when asked by six members of parliament from Lok Sabha.
At the time, the Law Commission recommended, following a study that took more than a year, that Parliament pass a law to regulate gambling and betting activities or pass a model law that could be used by state governments so they could regulate the industry. It would appear that the suggestions have fallen on deaf ears.
India has a gambling problem. However, it isn’t because there are a lot of gambling addicts. The problem stems from the lack of regulations. Gamblers are going to gamble – this is a given and accepted fact by most. By continuing to ignore the industry, lawmakers are only causing more illegal gambling operations to flourish. The illegal operations are the root of the problem, not the gamblers. By legalizing the industry, India would not only protect its citizens as it should, but it would also be able to capitalize on the revenue that the activity would produce.