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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

“Betting in cricket and other sports should be legalised in India …”

Further to what I, and Johnathan Pearce, and Natalie Solent, have all being saying here about cricket corruption, and about how this is a story about more than mere cricket corruption, I just noticed this report from a few days ago, at cricinfo.com. Cricinfo is one of my regular haunts, so sorry for not linking to this earlier:

Betting in cricket and other sports should be legalised in India, a Delhi court has said, pointing out that the police have failed to curb illegal betting in the country. Legalising betting, the court said, would help the government keep track of the transfer of funds and even use the revenue generated for public welfare.

“It does not need divine eyes to see that ‘satta’ in cricket and other games is reaching an alarming situation. The extent of money that it generated is diverted to clandestine and sinister objectives like drug trafficking and terrorist activities,” said additional sessions judge Dharmesh Sharma, of a Delhi trial court. “It is high time that our legislature seriously considers legalising the entire system of betting online or otherwise so that enough revenues can be generated to fund various infrastructural requirements for the common man and thus check the lucrative business in organised crime.”

Now I will willingly grant you that this is anything but a pure libertarian argument, of the kind that would prevail in Brian-Micklethwait-world. Judge Sharma is emphasising the revenue gathering opportunity inherent in legalisation just as strongly as the anti-crime point. But for what it is worth, I also much prefer a legalised and quite heavily taxed and state-regulated betting regime to total illegality, if those are the only choices I am offered. And they are, given the current state of the world and of its predominant opinions.

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8 comments to “Betting in cricket and other sports should be legalised in India …”

  • Laird

    Would he make the same utilitarian arguments about legalizing drug use, I wonder? Because they are identical (and equally valid).

  • Congratulations on your news instincts: you saw this story before it was big. I note the Guardian has Dharmesh Sharma’s comments at the top of its current news page this morning.

    Indian judge alleges betting rings are supporting terrorism

  • RAB

    Well I would say that exactly the same arguement pertains to drugs, yes legalise them.

    Slightly off topic, but only slightly. I happen to be at my mother’s house in Cardiff this weekend.

    God in his wisdom has passed judgement on the corruption of cricket affair, he doesn’t need an enquiry from the ICB or the Met, it is pissing down here, and that definately wasn’t supposed to happen according to the Wet Office. So that is the Pakistan/England 20/20 match banjaxed.

    I wasn’t going anyway by the way.

  • RAB

    Well, the match seems to be happening now.

    The only number about it that interests me very much is: how many people bought tickets to attend it after this scandal erupted at the end of the Lord’s test?

    As for the God angle, do you think the floods in Pakistan might be His punishment of Pakistan for tolerating match fixing for all these years? Of cricket games, I mean, which God obviously cares about far more than baseball games.

  • RAB

    Well the rain stopped around 3pm, and it is really quite a splendid evening now. They’ll manage to get it in with the floodlights and all.

    Yes the tickets sales would be interesting to know. As to God, just me being frivilous again I’m afraid

  • Verity

    Rab – Banjaxed! What a wonderful word! I’ve never seen it before. Is it local? What it means in your context is pretty obvious, but what’s the lineage? Does anyone know?

  • Verity

    Laird – No. They’re not. One is a physical dependency and one is a lifestyle dependency.

    Some rock star whose name I don’t remember … famous for being in and out of rehab… I realise this would have more credence if I could remember his name … said that giving up cigarettes was far harder than giving up drugs.

    I think drugs and drug dependency has been glamourised by the media … for some reason … I wonder why … This was someone who had made a career out of being a drug-addled rock star. And he said that cigarette dependency was harder.

  • Laird

    First of all Verity, that’s not entirely true. The use of some drugs creates a physical dependency, but not all of them. There is no evidence that marijuana, for instance, is addictive in any physical sense.

    But that isn’t the point. The utilitarian arguments made for legalizing gambling (reducing strain on the legal system, eliminating the criminal element, state regulation and taxation, etc.) are identical for drug use. And the libertarian arguments are, too: you have no right to deny someone else the choice of engaging in an activity simply because you disapprove of it. That’s true even if the activity is physically harmful to the user; it’s his body and his choice. Keep your intrusive nose to yourself.