On 8th February 2019, Jithender Reddy, Telengana Rashtriya Sasmiti (TRS) MP asked an unstarred question related to the legal status of fantasy sports in India and made a proposal to regulate the industry.
Reddy, in his question, sought to know whether the central government has planned to regulate the burgeoning fantasy sports industry or not and whether this falls under a ‘game of skill’ or is a gambling/betting game, as per Supreme Court’s previous opinions.
He also sought to know whether fantasy sports falls under the topic of ‘gambling and betting’ which is under the State List. A State List is a parliamentary list of all the topics that are designated to be handled by the State Government and the Central List includes all topics to be handled by the Centre.
Union MoS of Finance Pon Radhakrishnan replied to Reddy’s questions stating that anything involving betting and gambling comes under Entry 34 of the List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution and that the state governments are well-suited to enact laws on the issue. One thing is interesting to note that Reddy’s party, the TRS, had issued an ordinance in 2017 to amend the Telangana Gaming Act, 1974 to ban all kinds of games of skill, whether online or offline within the state of Telangana.
Recently, Kerala MP Shashi Tharoor tabled a sports betting bill in the lower house a couple months ago, detailing a framework for sports betting regulation and related provisions. The bill was titled ‘Sports (Online Gaming and Prevention of Fraud) Bill, 2018′. Another MP Amar Singh had raised a starred question relating to legal status of betting and gambling in Rajya Sabha to which the Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad gave a textbook answer the centre has been giving since long.
Coming back to Reddy, the question did not receive any specific answer by the centre and the latter did not even provide any statistics on the cases pending in consumer courts relating to fantasy gaming. The Finance Ministry did not state whether it plans to introduce laws to regulate this industry. The stakeholders are still waiting on a definitive answer to this amply raised question from various parties.
Keep reading GutshotMagazine.com for more similar updates on legal happenings related to the gambling/gaming industry in India as well as from around the world.
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