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Establishing the optimum sports betting regulatory system to protect the integrity of Indian sports

Cricket players and Indian Flag
Wednesday, 21 November 2018 By Kevin Carpenter

Sports betting is a global phenomenon. Thanks to advances in mobile technology, principally mobile phones, and the pervasiveness of the internet, online sports betting is one of the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic industries. This brings with it incredible opportunities economically including vast employment and income to the state from taxation. However, at the heart of any regulatory system that is adopted has to be the protection of the integrity of sport. Only then will betting operators, sports and other stakeholders, have faith in a crime-free system which benefits all stakeholders.

India remains one of the largest unregulated sports betting markets. This lack of transparency has partially contributed to a number of match-fixing and betting integrity issues arising in Indian sport, ranging from cricket and the IPL1 (leading to the high profile ‘Lodha Committee report2) and Indian football3.

However, globally there is a movement by large currently unregulated markets to embrace the inevitable creep of sports betting, meaning the appropriate regulatory approach (e.g. the United States of America4), and integrity frameworks, are now at the top of both the political and sporting agendas. These progressive jurisdictions are in the fortunate position of being able to learn from other countries around the world who have already put in place effective regulatory and integrity frameworks. Leading countries are objectively viewed to be Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales), France and Australia.

This article will set the background by taking a look at the history of sports betting in India, and where we are today, before briefly set out the approaches taken in Great Britain, France and Australia, the recent Law Commission of India report, and ending by setting out what the author believes to be the key integrity elements for a successful regulated Indian sports betting market. Specifically, it looks at:

  • History of sports betting in India and shortcomings of the current system of prohibition

    • Overview of the current law

    • IPL Probe Committee Report

    • Supreme Court Committee on Reforms in Cricket

  • Systems of sports betting regulation around the world

    • Great Britain

    • France

    • Australia

  • Law Commission of India report

  • Key elements to a regulated Indian sports betting market

    • National and state betting regulators

    • Open licensing system

    • Licensing condition to report suspicious activity

    • Establish a specialist sports betting integrity unit

    • Robust money laundering regulations

    • The blocking of unlicensed operators

    • Specific legislation to support the new regulatory system

  • Final remarks

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Written by

Kevin Carpenter

Kevin Carpenter

Kevin is a advisor and member of the editorial board for LawInSport, having previously acted as editor. In his day-to-day work he has two roles: as the Principal for his own consultancy business Captivate Legal & Sports Solutions, and Special Counsel for Sports Integrity at leading global sports technology and data company Genius Sports.

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