Disastrous. Beware cricket lovers, if this happens, the Cricket will be no more. It is the betting lobby behind this suggestion to the Government.
I write this in the wake of controversy over spot-fixing in IPL matches.The Indian Premier League was hit with a massive blow when Delhi Police arrested pacer S Sreesanth and his Rajasthan Royals teammates -- Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan for allegedly indulging in spot-fixing in at least three IPL matches as per arrangements with bookies who are suspected to have underworld connections abroad. Delhi Police on Sunday arrested three more in the spot-fixing scandal including a former Ranji player.
Before we attempt to legalize cricket betting, let us try to understand what is Betting in general, Match Betting, Match Fixing,Spot Betting and Spot Fixing in cricket.
Currently, "Betting" in general, subject to certain exceptions, is illegal in India, including cricket betting. BETTING means Gambling (wagering) which results either in a gain or a loss, which is purely based on luck or chance, without any exercise of intelligence, hence it is largely prohibited in India. Match Betting or Spot Betting, therefore , fall within the meaning of BETTING and hence currently prohibited in India. However, in genuine Betting, there is no cheating or fooling, it is done transparently.
March Fixing or Spot Fixing is more than the Betting. It is actually cheating and fooling the innocent in the guise of betting. It is clear fraud on the people who are betting in the cricket and also cricket fan and general public who came to see the clean game of cricket . While, in cricket Betting the result/outcome should be totally left to chance, but in the FIXING whether it is the Match or a particular Spot (any event in the match), the same has already been fixed by the Bookies through bribe/favors to the cricket players. Betting syndicate, like so called D COMPANY, through the army of their bookies manipulate the results of different spots in the cricket, some time even the Match itself, by influencing the players, so that bookies get the result what they want, so that nothing is left to chance or luck or its destiny. In the process you cheat the bonafide betters and also more importantly fool the public, who believe that what happened in the field is genuine event, while actually it has been the creation of the betting syndicate by bribing players so that it can make huge money. Since cricket betting is not permitted, it is also the black money. In law, this constitutes clearly the offenses of Cheating under Section 420 and Criminal Conspiracy under section 120-B of the Indian Penal Code.
Some people think that by legalizing betting, this menace will be stopped. It is the opposite. By doing this, you will be indirectly legalizing match fixing and spot fixing. As you have legalized betting, you will never know whether the outcome has been manipulated by fixing with the help of corrupt cricketers . On the contrary, if the very betting is illegal as it is now, it is far easier and convenient to detect "Fixing" whether the spot or the match.
It is unfortunate that even Times of India feels that betting in cricket should be legalized. They say that their view is :"We have always consistently maintained that betting should be legalized. Banning it only pushes it underground, making it lucrative for criminal elements. That creates a dangerous situation in which money can flow between gambling, drugs and even terror, all of which the underworld dabbles in. The current spot fixing expose only illustrates this point. Legalizing gambling would not only create an additional source of tax revenues for the government, it would also minimize criminal involvement." Even the Union Sports Ministry, I understand, is examining the possibility of legalizing betting in sports in the country including Cricket. The Government's intention is to make money by taxing the enormous betting proceeds without realizing its harmful effect to cricket. Revenue is a major motivating factor for the Government of the day.
I cannot agree to this. This is exactly what the betting syndicate and the corrupt cricket players want. The greedy Government in the process is lured by the chance of making good tax collection as they are in any way never interested in anything clean anywhere in the country.
While there may be a case for legalizing betting selectively, as done in the case of horse race, state lottery, on -line betting in some areas, but doing so in big sports like cricket, may endanger the very existence of the cricket and its popularity.
Prof. Ram Mallar.
Mallarr Law Associates LLP
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