By Ruwa Shah

Gangtok– Former CBI Director Ranjit Sinha has advocated legalisation of sports betting and gaming since, he said, these had a massive revenue generation potential and were popular with the people.

He, however, also emphasised proper regulation and what he called “responsible gaming”.

“The business of sport betting and gaming exists, despite the ban. There is a stigma attached to it, but it is not very high on the government radar. The government should legalise it,” the former Central Bureau of Investigation Director said in Sikkim’s capital.

“With good regulation and responsible gaming, we can make it happen. Like it exists in Sikkim and helps increase revenue and employment in the state.”

Sinha was speaking at a gaming event organised by the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) on Saturday evening in the northeastern state — called ‘Las Vegas of India’ where casinos are allowed.

Sinha said the Sikkim model could be used by other states after the Himalayan state emerged as one of the most sought-after destinations for high-end tourists.

“This (gaming/betting) industry has huge revenue generation potential, which can be seen in Sikkim and Goa.”

At a panel discussion themed ‘Legalise Betting’, Sinha said: “There are definitely adverse effects also, but proper regulation and an enforcement body can take care of that part.”

“We have to also look into its moral aspect and take public opinion into consideration.”

The former CBI chief also urged the gaming federation to take representatives from all sectors on board.

Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci)representative Rajpal Singh said: “We should not shy away from reality. Illegal betting is already happening. Huge money is involved in illegal betting. (So) it is better to legalise it, but ensure a strict vigil on the industry.”

“If regulated properly, we can generate huge revenues for the states,” he added.

The AIGF, formed in June 2016, said it is making efforts to make betting and gaming legal in areas where it can generate revenue, employment and boost tourism. (IANS)