Spot fixing in cricket: Ficci for legalising betting in India

Last Updated: May 24, 2013, 21:10 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid uproar over spot fixing scandal in cricket, industry body Ficci today made a case for legalising betting saying it could fetch about Rs 20,000 crore in revenue annually.

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"In the wake of latest controversies related to spot fixing case in cricket and revelations of role of underworld in leveraging ban in sports betting, Ficci has once again reinitiated its call for regulating sports betting in India," the chamber said in a statement.

It said that despite several attempts to ban it, betting is continuing in an underground way and substantial resources have been invested into enforcing such a ban.

"Thus middle way out is, it should be regulated in a way which reduces this to an acceptable level. Hence, the Government should think of legalizing and regulating betting. India is continuing to lose billions of dollars in taxable revenue (an estimated Rs 12-20,000 crore annually) through black marketing operations in sports betting," it added.

Ficci said that the big advantage of regulating sports betting is going to be the accountability for the large amounts of money transferred through illegal channels and reduction in cases of match fixing, money laundering and crimes.

"If gaming and betting is regulated in India, it will benefit exchequer and could potentially fund sports development, social protection or welfare schemes and infrastructure development plans," it said.

In a representation to government, it has highlighted how blanket ban on sports betting has been impossible to be sustained without a proper regulation.

"A system which seeks simply to prohibit rather than control gambling is turning its back on the problem," it said adding ban cannot be implemented but sports betting can be controlled with proper regulation to prevent further deterioration of conduct of sports in country.

Raising the question regarding how to tax the money involved in gambling, it said that there is a need to devise a system which encourages betting operators to function openly.

"We also need to devise systems for protection for the young and vulnerable against the dangers of unwise betting behaviour but these can be addressed only if we spot the victim and which is possible only through proper regulation.

"Active regulation is the only real solution ? whether the underlying philosophy is to permit or restrict," it added.

Spot fixing allegations in the T-20 cricket tournament came to the fore again after the Delhi Police arrested three IPL cricketers and number of bookies on these charges. Few other police departments like Mumbai Police have also begun similar probes in their jurisdictions.