One of the important recommendations the RM Lodha committee has made -- to legalise betting in the country -- has met with mixed response. Many feel it will have an adverse effect on the lower and middle class and would encourage them to indulge in the activity, while others think the move will curb corrupt practices in sport and loosen the underworld’s grip on betting.
Reacting to the recommendation, former Mumbai Police commissioner MN Singh said, “If the recommendation is implemented, all the wrongdoings and match/spot-fixing in the game will go.
“The most important thing is that it will bring under control the involvement of the underworld. The underworld has control over the betting world. By legalising betting, the underworld’s involvement will go… besides, by bringing betting under legal framework, the government will earn huge revenue,” said Singh.
Another police officer said on condition of anonymity that, “Betting involves huge amount of hawala transactions. If it is legalised, all the transactions would come under legal checks, which would curb illegal money transaction.”
Former IPS officer and advocate YP Singh said that, “If the recommendation is implemented, it will affect the poor. Horse racing and lottery are already legalised. But once betting (in cricket and other sports) is legalised, the lower and middle class would be affected the most, as many would switch to betting to make quick money,” said YP Singh, adding, “The poor would start betting with the money they would otherwise use to run their households.” He also felt that the move will only increase match-fixing.