India Could Legalize Gambling to Fight CorruptionPublished September 12, 2010
Underground gambling in India is estimated to be worth billions of dollars.
The Indian government will consider proposals to legalize gambling in an effort to fight corruption in cricket, the Times of India reported Sunday.
The underground cricket gambling market in India is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, unsurprising when considering its status as undoubtedly the most popular sport in the country of around 1.2 billion people.
In fact each match of the recently-completed Indian Premier League season was estimated to have attracted bets of well over $100 million.
An unnamed official in the Indian Sport Ministry told the Times of India that the matter would be considered, saying: "The aim is to ascertain whether legalized betting can exist in India without the stigma attached to it now. So, we are looking at the pros and cons with great care."
The involvement of illegal Indian bookmakers in the cricket underworld first became public knowledge in 2000 when the sport was hit by a massive match-fixing scandal that ended in life bans for the captains of three test-playing nations: Mohammad Azharuddin of India, Salim Malik of Pakistan and the late Hansie Cronje of South Africa.
More recently, several Pakistani players stand accused of "spot-fixing" during the national team's 2010 tour of England.
Aside from helping curb underground groups, the regulation of gambling could also bring in much needed tax revenue for the Indian government.