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Legalize “Betting”, would that be a fix for “Fixing”?

Legalize “Betting” to fix¬†“Fixing”?
Satyamev Jayete

Satyamev Jayete. Greed better than Crime??

It wasn’t the “GayleStorm”, the “Killer-Miller”, Ponting’s or Pollard’s brilliant catches in the field, Dhoni’s undisputed dominance as CSK’s captain, Man of the Match knock by SRT, Rahul Dravid’s display of form in T20s post retirement, Dale Steyn’s animated spell of 4 overs match after match maintaining the most number of dot balls in the tournament or hattricks from Sunil Narine and Amit Mishra. It wasn’t any of these on-field, pure performance related and cherished incidences during this year’s IPL that brought IPL from the sports section to the front page of all the Indian Newspapers. It had to be a spot fixing scandal.And for the fans, its a bad feeling since this has come at the juncture of the business end of the tournament. Three teams are already in the play-offs, three teams are out of the contention, and the rest three are battling for one lone spot of the play-offs. All these weeks while the tournament was in progress, the fans have supported their favorite teams only to know that some over which customarily went unnoticed could have been “spot fixed”.

The idea of legalizing betting is taking rounds as a possible solution to spot fixing. Let us spare another thought to this idea.

We have to understand that “Betting” and “Fixing” are two different thing, though mutually related. We all would be aware, since it has been mentioned as an example, that “Betting” has been legalized in Europe. But what it turns out to be is just an organized platform for fans to bet, and for the government to earn revenues via taxes. Has it curbed “Fixing”? I would answer this in negative, and recall the Danish Kaneria incident in county cricket. Also, the last international incident of “Spot-Fixing” did occur in England – the one which involved 3 Pakistani players – Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir, and one of them being the captain of the Pakistani side.

European Football has the maximum involvement in the organized and legalized betting industry in Europe, but we still read players and match officials questioned on fixing. It was a sad day for European Football when Europol reveal in February about more than 100 matches being fixed, which included qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and the Champions League for top European club sides.

You can legalize the platform through which betting takes places, but that doesn’t reduce the changes of bookies getting involved with players for fixing matches, or overs or moments in the match. There could a discussion on whether it might increase the chances of more bookies approaching more players since more money could be involved, as it is legalized and the average fan who fears betting in India since it is illegal might also pool in. But this idea can’t be the solution of nipping this ugly side of sports in the bud.

Having said that, I don’t deny to the fact that betting should be legalized in India. It anyways goes on without the legal umbrella above the heads of the bookies, so legalizing it might make sense. But “Legalizing Betting” is not the fix for the “Fixing Issues”.

I hope the decision makers treat both these concepts separately.

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