India sports minister calls sports betting immoral and illegal

India’s Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has unequivocally stated his opposition to the legalization of sports betting, calling it immoral and illegal, local media reports. 

When asked about his views on the legalization of sports betting, Rijiju said: “I am against any form of betting and gambling. It is illegal and immoral.”

However, the sports minister appeared open to the idea of using funds from lotteries to raise funds for sports and sports infrastructure, as such a system has been successful in the UK. 

“Lottery is a good system. Like the UK, many countries have this system and it has generated a lot of money… I have to discuss the matter with the Prime Minister. Things are at an early stage, and the lottery is one of the options that we are looking at as a source of funding for the future. But the lottery should be thought about in a professional way, not for gambling.”

In September, Rijiju had expressed his hesitation about legalizing betting, noting that it is a state subject, and thus all stakeholders had to be consulted. He had however cautioned that a move to legalize betting or gambling could have an impact on society.

In the past, the central government has maintained that while it discourages the activity, betting and gambling is a state subject and state governments have the primary responsibility of framing their own policy on the issue.