Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI’s) Anti Corruption Unit head Ajit Singh Shekhawat suggested that legalising betting and bringing a strong law against cheating in sport would help in tackling issues of match-fixing in cricket.
Shekhawat, who was the Director General of Police in Rajasthan before taking charge of BCCI’s Anti-corruption Unit in April 2018, gave his suggestions in an interview. This was after 12 cricketers, including national and international, reported corrupt approaches in the last one year, including the Tamil Nadu Premier League came under scanner for suspected activity and a woman cricketer also reported an approach from a bookie.
“It is not unstoppable. We probably require a law against it, a match-fixing law. If there is a clear law against it, police will also have a clear cut role,” Shekhawat said.
Legalised betting is another way to deal with corruption in the game, the ACU chief added and noted that such a move would also generate massive amount of tax revenue for the government.
“Maybe there could be a thinking about legalising gambling so that all this illegal business which goes on can be controlled. Legal betting will be done under some parameters and it can be controlled.
“It will also bring a huge amount of revenue for the government, close to what the excise department generates. The amount of money which is bet on sport is mindboggling,” said the retired IPS officer.
He said a move like this would also help keep a tab on the people involved as well as the money.
“Revenue is not the only consideration, there could be other issues which the government has in mind. I am not saying categorically that it should be legalised but it should be considered. It could be regulated when it is legalised, right now it is totally illegal.
Once it is legalised you will also get the data on who is betting and how much he is betting. And while doing that, make illegal betting tougher. Right now you can get away with a fine of few hundreds or a few thousands,” he noted.
Several independent bodies including the Supreme Court appointed Lodha and Mudgal committees on BCCI reforms, the Law Commission of India and some officials in the International Cricket Council (ICC) have advocated legalising and regulating betting to curb illegal activities and match-fixing.
The BCCI has however opposed any move to legalise betting in its submissions to the Supreme Court in 2016.