The head of the anti-corruption department of Indian cricket has called for betting legalisation and a fresh match-fixing law in an effort to combat corruption in the most common sport in the country.
Ajit Singh Shekhawat, a major figure at the Board of Control for Cricket in India(BCCI), supported legalisation in an interview with the PTI news agency in which he also disclosed that a dozen cricketers, including global players, had reported being approached in the last year to throw matches.
Shekhawat, formerly Rajasthan Police Director-General until he moved to the Anti-Corruption Unit of the BCCI last April, agrees that betting regulation would have a beneficial effect on problems of integrity.
Shekhawat told PTI: “Maybe there could be 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 sports is mind-boggling.”
Shekhawat said 12 cricketers have reported corrupt approaches in the past year, including domestic and foreign players, while the Tamil Nadu Premier League has been investigated for suspicious activity.
Last year, India’s Law Commission called for the regulation of betting and match-fixing, as it is in England and Australia, to be made a criminal offence. The Commission’s’ Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India’ called for the regulation of gambling for those 18 years of age and older, with bets directly connected to identity cards to decrease the danger of money laundering.
“I am not saying [betting] should be legalised but it should be considered,” Shekhawat said. “When legalised, it can be regulated, as of now it is completely illegal.
“Once legalised, you will also get statistics on who is betting and how much is betting.”