Will legalization of betting curb match fixing or exacerbate; India debate

India’s BCCI General Secretary Anurag Thakur has called for the legalization of cricket betting, saying the government should consider it as an option to curb illegal match fixing.

A recent debate on NewsX TV in India, which featured on “Insight with Rahul Shivshankar”, raised the question whether betting would bring accountability. Thakur was shown on the segment to endorse legalized betting on cricket in the country, saying it would bring some accountability to the system.

The debate sought to determine whether betting would be the “magic bullet” to curb match fixing, or increase the risk.

According to the program, over 10 lakh crore is bet through underground betting rackets each year, or 2000 crore bet on every match. “Legalising it could throw oodles of cash the taxman’s way and potentially break the back of Dawood’s gang that has the biggest slice of the betting pie and maybe even reduce the fixing that was the problem to begin with,” said host Shivshankar.

According to the debate, panellists legalizing betting related to the easier identification of match-fixing based betting patterns, which would become more easily observable. “If someone wants to fix a match, they want to see a return on that money and would need to bet more”, said gaming lawyer Vidushpat Singhania, adding it would be easy to identify the person involved.

 However, some panellists were not as supportive of the proposed betting legalization, raising the threat of problem gambling and its social impact.