"Vulnerable sections of the society need protection"

India justice calls to address impact of sports betting legalization

Justice Chauhan delivered a speech at the first India Gaming Conclave (IGC) organized by FICCI jointly with All India Gaming Federation (AIGF).

| 20/03/2017

Law Commission of India Chairman Justice B S Chauhan said there is a need to examine the impact of legalizing sports betting by studying its social, economic and moral implications under a liberalized regime.

He said the myths and negative opinions on these issues have to be unfolded.

"Individual freedom was the basic right which we all look up to but the vulnerable sections of the society need protection at the same time," Justice Chauhan said Friday in his address at the first India Gaming Conclave (IGC) organized by FICCI jointly with All India Gaming Federation (AIGF).

"While those in favour of legalizing betting believe in the need to protect individual autonomy and minimum state interference, those disfavouring it believe that preserving societal order and morality was also important.

"Therefore, there was a need for reforms that aim at flexibility while ensuring freedom of choice for the consumers. Hence, there was a need to strike a balance between freedom and choice," a FICCI statement quoting Justice Chauhan said.

In his address, Justice Chauhan also said that any attempt at legalizing gambling and betting has to be made in the backdrop of this socio-economic reality

"There was a grave risk that legalizing this activity might adversely affect the social fabric of India. There were chances that people in a bid to earn quick money through gambling might resort to unlawful means.

"A comprehensive analysis of the socio-economic circumstances in light of the constitutional guidelines was thereby essential before framing an umbrella legislation that legalizes gambling," he said.

The Law Commission chairman said there were several adverse effects of gambling and one of the problems with it was when a person becomes addicted and loses control over his gambling activities, it results in financial losses that have an adverse impact on his or her personal, economic and social life.

"The second problem relates to the social repercussions that are a direct consequence of gambling. One fallout could be increased crime, loan sharking (taking loans at exorbitant rates for gambling), worsening of the living standards of the poor and lower middle class and changes in behavioural norms and social ethics," he said.