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Digested: LKS sports lawyer Vidhushpat Singhania on fixing the law

NUJS Kolkata student Jay Sayta interviews Lakshmi Kumaran & Sridharan (LKS) principal associate and sports and gaming lawyer Vidushpat Singhania. Read the full interview on his gaming laws blog glaws.

Q. What is your practice all about?

A. Assessing whether a game is actually gambling or not, representing sportspersons and athletes before anti-doping panels, sports and gaming contracts, structuring and regulatory compliance, litigation and policy work.

“The field is very vast and contrary to general perception specialized knowledge of the field helps in minimising risk to the clients.”

Q. How to curb fixing in cricket?

A. “It is precisely for this reason that the Anti Corruption Sports Unit and the Anti Corruption Code for Participants had been formulated.”

Proactive investigation of the accused, an international code against fixing, a betting monitoring system, judicial assistance in enforcement, and a “World Anti-Corruption body” similar to the World Anti Doping Agency will help.

Q. Can those accused of fixing be prosecuted under the penal code as it stands, and if not, will amending the penal code help curb the problem of fixing?

A. “The provisions of IPC though not squarely dealing with the problem can always be interpreted by the courts broadly for public good and a precedence[sic.] could be set […]”

Two other options – creation of a special police unit for sports offences, or prosecution before the Court of Arbitration for Sports which brings a penalty appealable only in Swiss courts.

Q. “You have played a very active role in preparing the FICCI report on legalising sports betting in India and also in organising the conference.” Details please.

A. The conference was held in June 2012, and to an extent helped dispel the public belief that betting is a vice. Taxation of betting wins can bring huge revenue, so regulating it instead of banning it is more appropriate. The conference will be held in September or October this year.

“the government, for the first time, has become amenable to the discussion on regulation of sports betting. I believe that this open attitude of the government to some extent can be attributed to the FICCI conference.”

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