Every country in the world has fans who gravitate towards a certain sport. In the UK they like football, in the USA they prefer American football while in India cricket is preferred. Our focus will be on cricket in India. Have you ever wondered why Indians do not seem to play other games besides cricket?
India was colonized by Britain and the colonialists introduced the game in the country. As the Indians played the game they eventually became good at it, even better than Britain. India is now regarded as one of the best nations in the world when it comes to cricket. Some of the famous cricketers include Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and many others.
Since cricket is mainstream in the country, betting becomes inevitable. Betting comes about when two cricket teams play against each other. There has always been a dilemma surrounding betting, especially on its legalization. Many people who support gambling claim you can legitimately earn a living from it. Those who oppose it, claim betting has split families. It is not uncommon for a breadwinner to spend all their money on gambling rather than buy food for the family.
Before we explore the pros and cons of legalizing the game in India, we will need to understand some of the current Indian laws regarding betting. If you are looking to consider cricket betting as a first-timer, you can visit this link and make your own informed decision.
Indian guidelines on sports betting
The law that regulates gambling in India is known as The Public Gambling Act of 1867. It forbids one from running or being in charge of a public gambling house. Anyone who contravenes this law is liable to a fine of 100 rupees or an imprisonment term of one month. By casually looking at the Act, all forms of gambling may be illegal yet it does not appear that way.
Many Indian cricket fans still gamble because the law does not say anything about sports gambling. When it comes to sports gambling, it does not have to necessarily take place from a gambling house all thanks to online gambling. Due to the ambiguity of the law, some gamblers face the wrath of the law.
Next, the law only prohibits gambling when it comes to games of chance rather than games of skill. There has however been a heavy debate as to whether poker is a game of skill or chance. Cricket is a game of skill so it would appear okay for you to bet. However, owning a public gambling house where people bet between cricket teams is illegal. Due to the ambiguity, should the Indian government legalize all forms of betting?
Pros of legalizing cricket betting
The government can earn from it- if the government taxes earnings people get from betting, the country's economy could significantly improve. Taxes can be used to build roads, schools, houses and so on. More people would bet without restrictions while the government collects its taxes. Additionally, the Indian economy has also benefitted from corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives by gambling companies. Some CSR initiatives undertaken include building schools, feeding the hungry, environmental care, and so on.
Crime rates could decrease - as of 2020, India's unemployment rate stands at 20.8%. The more people remain unemployed over some time, the more they engage in crime to survive. Statistics show that there has been an annual increase in crime in India at the rate of 1.6%. Most people resort to theft. Cricket betting means people won't engage in robbery and instead try to earn from betting.
Victimless act- gambling is not an act that involves hurting others such as robbery or murder. Gambling mainly affects the gambler more often than not. A gambler's loss is another gambler's win and the gambler engages in it knowing they could lose.
Cons of legalizing cricket betting
Rise of match-fixing in cricket- people have devised unscrupulous ways of betting. A person can willingly approach a rival team and bribe them to throw the game. After the person convinces the team to do so, the person will then bet against the other team and win.
Gambling addiction- just like alcohol, gambling can have negative impacts if not done responsibly. Out of greed or ignorance, people bet with the hope that they can one day live the good life. Cricket betting in India has become so serious to the extent that there are gambling rehabilitation centres in India. The Indian police have also tried to monitor the internet for any online gambling. However, with the hundreds of online gambling sites out there, surveillance has become a tall order.
It can lead to self-destructive behaviours- in gambling, you will not fail to find a bad loser. Some losers may assault cricket players from the losing team. Others may engage in alcoholism which slowly leads to depression and then suicide.
It is hard to give a definite answer as to whether cricket betting should be legalized. There is no doubt that gambling brings with it serious drawbacks. The gambling issue should be handled in the same way the alcohol issue is handled. It should be legalized, but the players should be encouraged to do so responsibly through night advertisements. People who know they have a gambling problem, should however not engage in cricket betting.