The spot-fixing scandal that has devastated the IPL points to the massive illegal betting industry that rides on cash-rich sports. Legalising betting is being suggested as a remedy, but it may only worsen the disease.
English language is rather good at evoking the British passion for gambling — people ‘gambling away’ their wealth, ‘betting the bank’ on a whim, ‘taking a punt’ on anything that might take their fancy, from horses and football matches to weather and the likely gender of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton’s baby.
Brits love a ‘flutter’ and make no bones about it. Betting became legal in 1960 with the enactment of the Betting and Gaming Act, 1960. Today, it is a multi-billion pound industry. High-street betting shops, which represent just a fraction of Britain’s bourgeoning gambling trade, alone contribute £3 billion a year to the British economy, according to evidence submitted by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) to Parliament’s Culture, Media and Sports Committee.
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