With the spot-fixing scandal growing by the day, the sports ministry wants a thorough clean-up of sports in the country and as a first step, it wants betting to be legalised.
The ministry, which is examining the draft of a bill prepared by the law ministry after spot-fixing rocked Season 6 of the T20 league, has said the document is sketchy, in need of a lot of improvement.
The ministry has objected to the definition of dishonesty in sporting events and feels it is too general to be effective.
A better and more practical way to check sport-fixing would be to legalise betting, as it would allow the government to regulate a business worth Rs. 300,000 crore annually, says the ministry.A recent Ficci report said the government could earn a revenue of up to Rs. 20,000 crore from betting - enough to support school education in India for one year.
The ministry has maintained that since betting in 'skilled games' such as horse racing is allowed, it should be extended to all other sports.
The move would clean sports of corrupt practices and ensure transparency as well, it says.
The bill has been drafted keeping only cricket in mind, a sports ministry official said.
"There is no clarity in the draft and we feel it will be difficult to implement," the official said on condition of anonymity.
Sports secretary PK Deb said they would send the draft back with necessary modifications.
The first working draft of the Prevention of Dishonesty in Sporting Events Bill proposes a jail term of five years for those indulging in unfair practices to alter the outcome of matches.
The offence includes fraud and cheating through technology, verbal communication or even use of signs.
The ministry wants the term dishonesty to be clearly defined so that the accused do not get the benefit of doubt in courts.
It has decided to contact the IOC, which has been working on guidelines for clean sporting activities.