British Minister to discuss betting regulation in India

In an attempt to persuade India to legalise betting, British Sports minister Hugh Robertson wants to discuss the issue with his Indian counterpart M S Gill during the Commonwealth Sports Ministers summit next month.

Last Updated: Sep 08, 2010, 23:50 PM IST

London: In an attempt to persuade India to
legalise betting, British Sports minister Hugh Robertson wants
to discuss the issue with his Indian counterpart M S Gill
during the Commonwealth Sports Ministers summit next month.

Robertson has written a letter to Gill, requesting that
the issue of sports betting and integrity be added to the
agenda for the summit during the Commonwealth Games in New
Delhi, a newspaper report said.

Robertson`s move came in the wake of biggest fixing
scandal to hit to the game which led to provisional suspension
of three Pakistani players by the ICC.

The British Minister has also requested a meeting with
ICC President Sharad Pawar to discuss the threat corruption
was posing before the game.

Everytime a fixing scandal comes out, the connection of
Indian bookies is always reported.

It is alleged that the gambling syndicates who manipulate
players` performances, operate out of major Indian cities.

"Bookmaking is illegal in India but that has not
prevented a thriving industry estimated to be worth more than
250 million a year operating beyond the reach of the national
and international authorities," the report said.

Robertson feels that legalisation of betting will help
curb the menace.

"One option is to persuade countries where [illegal]
syndicates operate to make betting legal, so that the markets
can be regulated," Robertson said.

"Currently the main countries where corruption is alleged
to originate are beyond the reach of any gambling regulation
which makes controlling it very difficult."

The British Minister said match-fixing and spot-fixing
posed a grave threat to the integrity of cricket and other
team sports and the Commonwealth summit represents an
opportunity to discuss the issue with the governments of all
major cricket-playing nations.

"The greatest threat to team sports are the sort of
integrity issues raised by the current allegations in cricket.
I am absolutely determined to cut this out because fixing of
the kind alleged is an absolute cancer in sport.”

"As soon as you lose the integrity of team sports you
might as well stop and go home, so we are determined to do
whatever we can to stamp this out. The Commonwealth summit
includes the sports ministers of every cricket nation so it`s
an excellent forum to take some soundings," he said.

PTI