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Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his office seem to be getting a lot of requests on issues related to the gaming industry off late. Right on the heels of the India Cruise Lines Association (INCLA) petitioning the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for several concessions and amendments in gaming laws, a new set of demands have arrived from the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF).
A recently published report on Glaws.in stated that, “the AIGF, in a written document, has requested Prime Minister Modi to ask the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate and take action against offshore betting websites that are illegally luring Indian citizens and accepting bets from India, in contravention of the Foreign Exchange Management Rules and cyber laws.”
In its missive, the AIGF also eluded to the fact that many online gambling and betting websites are willingly accepting players from India through e-wallets, agents and hawala transactions, leading citizens to the addiction of gambling.
The question of national security was also put forth by the organization by stating that the money accrued by the internet gambling websites from Indian citizens are sent out of the country through illegal means and may be used for financing undesirable and illicit activities.
With the not-for-profit organization’s determination and commitment to deal with issues pertaining to the domestic gaming industry, AIGF is looking to put an end to the operations of foreign betting websites in the country. However, the gaming body has clarified that its desire to crackdown on offshore websites does not contradict its willingness to see the proper licensing and regulation of online sports betting.
The Law Commission of India led by its Chairman, Justice (retd.) BS Chauhan had submitted its 276th report titled ‘Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including in Cricket in India’ to Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on July 5. In the report, the Commission had recommended that while legalising gambling and betting is not desirable in India, it is also improbable to completely prevent gambling/betting activities. In such circumstances, regulation is the only viable option and regulating betting is also beneficial for generating revenues and employment.
Under the Information Technology Act and Rules, AIGF has asked the Union government to work towards blocking the foreign websites from accepting deposits from Indian players. According to the organization, a comprehensive probe needs to be conducted against foreign websites for violating the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002; Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 2000 and other related laws.
Some of the websites named by AIGF for unlawfully soliciting and accepting players from India include 1xbet, Jeetwin, BetRally and Bet365.
With regards to the Law Commission’s recommendations which were released in July, this year, the gaming federation noted that “this move will prevent money-laundering and outflow of betting money abroad through illegitimate means and ensure that massive amounts of money that are spent on betting are taxed within India.”