Mumbai: A Law Commission of India’s letter to Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) and state cricket bodies, seeking suggestion on legalisation of betting in the country has met with varied response. The RM Lodha committee had recommended legalising betting and gambling.
Sanjay Singh, member secretary of Law Commission of India, in a letter dated July 31, had written to the Indian cricket board and state cricket associations saying that the Supreme Court had mandated the commission to review the prospects of legalising betting in the country, The Indian Express reported.
“The recommendation made by the Commission that betting should be legalised by law involves the enactment of a law, which is a matter that may be examined by the Law Commission and the Government for such action as it may consider necessary in the facts and circumstances of the case,” the letter said.
“May I add here that keeping in view the intertwining nature of betting and gambling, the Commission has decided to consider examination of both, the betting and gambling. I would, therefore, request you to forward the views of your association on the matter to the Commission at the earliest, as we would like to submit our report in line with the directions of the Supreme Court, at an early date,” added the letter.
According to the report, most of the state cricket associations have chosen to be silent. However, one state body had taken a firm stand against legalising the betting while another administrator feels there is not anything wrong, and an official of one of the state cricket associations supports the suggestion on a personal basis.
Saurashtra Cricket Association, which is the only state cricket associations to have replied to the letter, has made it clear that it is not in favour of legalising betting.
“It is our belief, as also our deep concern, that legalisation of betting will, both directly and indirectly, enhance and encourage the vice and the tendency of gambling in rather unrestricted manner,” SCA honorary joint secretary Madhukar Worah had said in his letter.
“The temptation to earn easy money through betting will be very much detrimental to economically weaker as also illiterate sections of the society. Besides, this will also indirectly encourage the menace of match-fixing and other undesirable anti-social elements,” Worah added further.
DDCA’s Justice Vikramajit Sen meanwhile confirmed that DDCA had received the letter and said. “I don’t see anything wrong with it (legalising betting). I think it will make the whole game much cleaner. That is my personal opinion.”
An office bearer of one association said that legalising betting will help government’s revenue.
“Speaking on a personal basis, I feel this would be a fantastic thing, because all underhanded dealings – betting, gambling etc., – will completely go. It will also directly contribute to the central exchequer. Organisations like Ladbrokes will set up their offices here. And as everything will be official and registered, in case of spot-fixing, they can immediately find out the persons involved. Maybe, in a country like India, betting regulations need to be stricter compared to the UK, for example,” said the official.