It has been argued that the moral and financial consequences for India's vast population still living below the poverty line would be dire, as modest livings are gambled away.
There is also opposition on the basis that regulation would be an admission of failure to contain the "black" or off-the-books economy, akin to legalising drink-driving or illicit drug use because it is so frequent.
The fact that it is an uphill task is underlined by the still uncertain fate of legislation that is sought to be introduced in India to outlaw corruption in sport, namely any action that would affect not merely the outcome of a match but any bets made within it - essentially making spot-fixing a crime. Introduced in draft form in November , the bill reportedly included such measures as protections for whistle-blowers, and penalties for officials and administrators who allow corruption on their watch.
Five years later, for reasons best known to politicians, sports administrators and others, it is still languishing somewhere near the bottom of the pile of pending Indian government legislation. Nonetheless, the court's response to Lodha was not to ignore the issue but instead refer it for further investigation by India's Law Commission, an independent group of eminent judges appointed to three-year terms, with a brief to look into legal reforms.
Since then, indicators of the commission's progress have been mixed. Strong suggestions that its ultimate report would recommend a framework for legalised betting and regulation across India emerged via newspaper reports in December and January, but the most recent indicator was more equivocal, coming in reply to a Right-to-Information query by the website GLaws, which monitors gambling-law developments in India.
Among the commission's responses were that public responses about whether or not to legalise betting were still being sifted through, and that no date had been set for the delivery of a report. Tellingly, they are working against the clock - the current Law Commission's term expires in August. Alex Marshall, the current head of the ACU, has previously flagged a change in approach by the unit to target the sources of corruption in partnership with players, rather than seeking to play "gotcha" with the cricketers themselves.
No single measure would do this more effectively than regulation. This is not to say that the creation of a legalised betting market in India would, in a single stroke, prevent all threat of corruption. What it would do, in the words of Condon, is make life far more difficult for the corruptors, and perhaps cause them to look elsewhere. It would take a considerable level of imperviousness to changing times for the Law Commission to simply not submit a report before its current tenure expires.
But then, going by Vishwa Bandhu Gupta's words in , it would also take considerable courage to force the issue. Either way, corruption in cricket will remain a problem beyond cricket's ability to control until the unwieldy Indian betting beast is brought to some kind of heel. To help make this website better, to improve and personalize your experience and for advertising purposes, are you happy to accept cookies and other technologies?
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Taxation revenues for sports development and preventing sport betting from being linked to criminality or used to launder the proceeds of crime. Follow us facebook twitter instagram youtube.
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