Legalise betting in cricket: Lodha panel

Legalise betting in cricket: Lodha panel

The Supreme Court-appointed panel on Monday suggested legalising betting in cricket but within a regulatory framework with no scope for cricketers, match officials and administrators to indulge in it.

The committee headed by Justice RM Lodha, however, recommended dealing with tough measures to the offence of spot or match fixing. It went on to suggest the players, administrators and others closely associated with the sport to furnish the details of their incomes and assets for the sake of transparency.

“While the issue of betting can be effectively dealt with by providing a legal framework, match/spot-fixing is neither pardonable nor a matter for regulation. The only way to deal with it is by making it a criminal offence punishable by law. The committee recommends appropriate amendments by the legislature,” the panel also comprising former SC judges Justices R V Raveendran and Ashok Bhan said.

The panel noted that the last couple of decades have shown a far murkier side of cricket – that of match fixing -- with instances of players from South Africa to Pakistan involved in influencing the outcome of a game for profit.

Clarifying the fundamental difference between betting and match/spot-fixing, the panel said as far as betting alone was concerned, many of those appeared before it were of the view that it would serve both the game and economy if it were legalised as has been done in the United Kingdom.

“It cannot be overlooked that the worldwide legal sports betting market is worth over 400 billion dollars. However, with the interest of cricket being foremost in our minds, it would always be necessary to protect and invoke transparency from those involved in the game,” it said.

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