‘No point in having a ban that cannot be enforced’

With betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL) estimated to be a Rs. 66,000-crore business, CBI Director Ranjit Sinha on Tuesday said there was no harm in legalising betting as there was no point in a ban that cannot be enforced.

When asked by senior journalist Shekhar Gupta on his views on legalising betting, Mr. Sinha, who was on a panel at a session titled “Ethics and integrity in sports — need for a law and role of CBI,” said there was no harm in legalising betting in the country.

“If we can have lottery in States, if we can have casinos at holiday resorts. If the government can declare schemes of voluntary disclosure for black money, so what’s the harm in legalising betting? Besides you’ll have enforcement agencies to look into it,” he said, adding that it was easy to call for ban than enforce it.

When informed by a delegate that officials of cricket bodies were termed public servants by the Supreme Court and could now be probed by the CBI and States’ anti-corruption agencies, Mr. Sinha said it was a revelation and he would not hesitate to probe cases of corruption if the need arose.

Dravid’s take

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, cricketer Rahul Dravid, who was special guest on the panel, said legalising betting was one subject on which the law enforcement agencies have to take a call. “I think if the law enforcement authorities actually do feel that legalising betting will lead to better governance and reduce corruption then I am all for it.”

Won’t help, says Sawani

When the question was posed to Ravi Sawani, chief of the BCCI’s Anti Corruption and Security Unit, he said legalising betting would in no way help reduce corruption in the game. Mr. Sawani said in each IPL game, legal bets from one exchange in the U.K. were about Rs. 440 crore, whereas for the IPL, bets worth Rs. 66,000 crore approximately were placed, including the bets placed by illegal betting syndicates. — PTI

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