A recent report from the commission discusses the possible legalization of gambling and sports betting in India, including what role cryptocurrency could play.
Published by the Law Commission of India, an executive body that pursues legal reform, a July report titled Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting Including in Cricket in India investigates gambling, sports betting, and their regulation within the country. A key section of the document is dedicated to responses from the public and government to the possibility of legalizing these activities, with the report specifically mentioning cryptocurrency‘s role in the matter.
In this section, the report noted that the “straight-jacket prohibition on gambling has resulted in a rampant increase in illegal gambling, resulting in a boom in black-money generation and circulation.” In fact, gambling has technically been illegal in the country for over 150 years due to the 1867 Public Gambling Act, which “makes operating a gambling house, assisting in the operation of a gambling house, visiting a gambling house (whether gambling or not), financing gambling and being in possession of gambling devices a crime.”
To combat illegal gambling, however, the document suggests a 180-degree turn: regulate it. According to the report, regulation could help “ensure detection of fraud and … create transparency.”
Part of this suggested regulatory framework would be a transition to a “cashless” wagering system that relied upon “electronic means of payment,” such as credit cards, debit cards, and even cryptocurrencies. The electronic payment system would be coupled with strict laws to help prevent money laundering.
This report could speak to wider cryptocurrency adoption throughout the country, although news within the Indian cryptospace has caused some whiplash. For example, in May, the Supreme Court of India barred lower courts from hearing future petitions relating to cryptocurrency. Apparently, this is part of an effort “to consolidate the rapidly expanding legal proceedings into one comprehensive judgement on the legitimacy of cryptocurrency.”
The court then had a hearing on July 20, during which it agreed to continue pursuing a nationwide cryptocurrency ban. Further judgment will be given in September.