Purvi Khanna, a student from NALSAR University of Law, evaluates the existing legal position of gambling on sports in the Indian subcontinent.


The currently ensuing debacle for the repealing of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) put into motion by the State of New Jersey is the subject of analysis of this paper. The act’s objective is to criminalise and prohibit sports’ gambling; a source of revenue that the state is contending its right to in times of distress. Despite the presence of the federal enactment, the incidence of sports’ betting is fairly ubiquitous in the United States and the betting industry is worth billions of dollars currently. The demand of the state and the bettors is the regulation of the sports’ gambling market by making the activity legal whereas powerful sports leagues contend that such a move would reduce the integrity of sports and increase the occurrence of matchfixing episodes, leading to a decrease in sports spectatorship itself. This movement is complemented by vicissitudes in notions of gambling and the rising incidence of the match-fixing phenomenon in various sports, which has been explored in an attempt to reach an effective model for the future of legalised betting.

Part I of this paper analyses the reasons for the growth of sports’ gambling for popular sports and the factors impacting this trend. Part II deals with the policy in the United States regarding prohibition of sports’ gambling in most states except four. Part III engages with the debate around the issue of legalisation versus prohibition of sports’ gambling. Part IV and V evaluate the existing legal position of gambling on sports in the Indian subcontinent in comparison to the legal regimes of Commonwealth countries with specific legislations on the subject. Part VI, in conclusion, provides suggestions for an effective gambling policy.