Editor's note: Deeksha Malik is a final-year student at
National Law Institute University, India. Her main interest areas are corporate
law, arbitration, and sports law. She can be reached at email@example.com.
In 2015, while interrogating
cricketer Sreesanth and others accused in the IPL match-fixing case, Justice
Neena Bansal, sitting as Additional Sessions Judge, made the following observations as regards betting on cricket matches.
as a game of skill requires hand-eye-coordination for throwing, catching and
hitting. It requires microscopic levels of precision and mental alertness for
batsmen to find gaps or for bowlers to produce variety of styles of deliveries’
(medium pace, fast, inswing, outswing, offspin, legspin, googly). The sport
requires strategic masterminds that can select the most efficient fielding
positions for piling pressure on the batsmen. Based on above description,
cricket cannot be described anything, but as a game of skill.”
The debate on the
issue of betting in sports has since resurfaced and gained the attention of
sportspersons, media, sports bodies, policymakers, and the general public. In
April 2017, the Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra and AM
Khanwilkar agreed to hear a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking an order
directing the government to come up with an appropriate framework for
regulating betting in sports. The arguments put forth in the PIL present
various dimensions. One of these pertains to economic considerations, a
submission that regulated betting would be able to generate annual revenue of Rs. 12,000 crores by bringing the earnings therefrom within the tax
net. As for policy considerations, it was submitted that a proper regulation in
this area would enable the government to distinguish harmless betting from
activities that impair the integrity of the game such as match-fixing. Further,
betting on cricket matches largely depends on the skill of the concerned
players, thereby distinguishing it from pure chance-based activities.
The issue of
sports betting witnesses a divided opinion till this day. This is understandable, for both sides to the issue have equally pressing
arguments. Aside from its regulation being a daunting task for authorities,
sports betting is susceptible to corruption and other unscrupulous activities.
At the same time, it is argued that it would be better for both the game and
the economy if the same is legalised. More...