Are we a step closer to legalizing betting?
By CricShots - Apr 29, 2017 3:25 pm
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Cricket, in India, is no less than a religion! No statement about Cricket can explain Cricket’s stature in India better than this. How else do you explain people flocking towards the stadium when a Match is being played? How else do you explain how players are regarded as demigods by their respective fans? How else do you explain the way Cricket unites us, as a nation, or how we evoke patriotic fervor during a game?

For a game that enjoys the kind of status Cricket does in India, it’s sad that we are yet to cash in on ‘Betting’, something which has been legal since ages in almost every developed country. Fans in India are confined to not get into it, and those who still want to find ‘illegitimate’ channels of betting. Worse is the fact that we have traditionally been told that it is one of those wrongdoings and is often compared to gambling. Can it get worse than this? Yes! We still have legal syndicates for ‘gambling’, but don’t allow something as simple as betting in our country.

Since ages, we have been defaming betting. Betting isn’t mindless gambling, or ‘matka’ as the slang goes for it. In fact, betting, when done professionally, has a lot to do with ones knowledge and understanding of a particular sport. It has a lot do with judgments stemming out of an in-depth analysis of the sport.

The common belief is that betting gives way to match-fixing or spot-fixing. No, it doesn’t. Match fixing and betting are two entirely different things and have no connection whatsoever. Match fixing is just the bookies’s way of trying to bribe the player and control the outcome of a game, so that he can make money out of it. Legalizing betting will bring it under direct control of the Government and thus make it easier for the Government to control stuff like match-fixing. Plus, it’ll help the Government churn out a large amount of revenue. It just about needs to be organized better in order to make it a win-win for both : the Government as well as the participating bookies and fans!

At the end of a long tunnel, we finally saw some light today, some glimmer of hope as a bench of justices Deepak Mishra and A.M.Khanwilkar at the Supreme Court have agreed to hear a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) seeking its direction to the government to frame law to allow and regulate betting in sports. The court has agreed to take up the issue along with the case pending on Cricket reforms. Senior Advocate R.S.Suri and Adv. Reepak Kansal put before the bench that organizing and legalizing betting could help the government make as many as Rs.12,000 crores per year, and thus generate revenue out of something sports fans have been bereft of so far.