Legalization of betting and gambling in India have always garnered a lot of mixed opinions. The laws on their legality are left to the state government and not all states in the country have made them legal. Due to this many states have rampant illegal betting leading to match fixing which have resulted in many deaths and suicides, throwing a negative light on these activities.
However, many have argued that the solution to stop illegal activities centered around betting and gambling can only be through their legalization. Recently, the Minister of State for Finance and former president of the Board of Cricket Control (BCCI), Anurag Thakur has suggested legalizing betting in India as a way of countering illegal practices like match fixing.
The remarks were made at an event hosted by ICICI Securities, when Nilesh Shah who had pitched the idea for the legalization of betting in India, asked Thakur for his thoughts on the matter. “My suggestion will be to legalize betting and gambling activities, which are underground. They continue to exist in our society,” Shah said.
Shah is a Mutual Fund industry veteran and part-time member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister’s Economic Security Advisory Council [EACPM]. He explained that betting and gambling activities were common is countries like the US and UK where cases of cartels being busted for illegal betting and gambling were low.
In response, Anurag Thakur said that legalizing betting and gambling on sports would not only help in curbing the illegal practice of match-fixing, it would also bring thousands of crores in revenue, which could then be used for the development of the game.
“If we look at the problem of match-fixing, then the trends in betting can give us leads on whether something unholy is happening or not. Betting can become a potent tool to stop fixing,” Anurag Thakur said. He further explained that betting is systematic, and the same system could be used to keep track of people engaging in corrupt activities like match fixing.
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