Gambling has always been epicentered in a country like INDIA since the times of Mahabharata where ‘Yudhistira’ loses everything including his spouse for the thirst on gambling. Each and every sport has always been curbed by these controversies once it reaches an iconic status, similarly the way Cricket was plagued.
We first need to know how betting evolved. Betting was there since 1999 world cup. But it existed in different forms with different objectives. Initially news makers started to exploit the sport, let’s take cricket here as it is a larger than life sport in a country like INDIA. News makers introduced a concept known as forecasting where a group of strategy analysts will predict the outcome results and figures such as the range of runs scored, wickets taken and whether a spinner or pace bowler will take maximum wickets. To attract people they wanted to make this effective, hence they pulled out players mostly captains and struck a deal with them to match their predictions; the trend saw players like Hansie Cronje (South African captain) and domestic players from county cricket club teams getting caught.
Betting a bounty rich Business
Betting then evolved to be a source of income in regular intervals as it took shape into a business. People who work as brokers are called Bookies who negotiate terms with a player and organize betting proposals between participants. Most people still don’t know how this betting mechanism happens and how people benefit out of it. Betting is similar to gambling, it involves a group of people coming together prior to a match and start placing bets on runs scored by the team, individuals, wickets taken, etc; as we know the greed of the people never suffices they used bookies to pull out legs of players and bribe them to play as they say so that they can win the bet. This evolved country to country and soon became a mafia saga and even the INTERPOL criminal Dawood Ibrahim started to have strong footholds on it.
Effect of IPL on betting
IPL became a preying ground for bookies. As we know IPL blends cricket with other entertainment factors and has reached globally, it automatically became an avenue for betting and Spot Fixing. Spot Fixing was prevalent in English county clubs where Pakistani spinner Danish Kaneria was caught red-handed. This spot fixing came into existence in the IPL. IPL attracted bookies from Gulf countries, London ,India ,Pakistan and other countries , it went to an extent that trading was done in US dollars currency. Spot fixing is an advanced version of betting where players are paid to bowl No-balls, Wide’s and Beamers. They also signal in some way to the bookies that they are going to bowl that ball in a specific over. Players like Monish Mishra, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, ankit chavan were arrested and charged for spot fixing. As IPL also did not come under the ICC recognized events, it wasn’t put under the scanner by ICC Anti corruption agency which eased the nerves among bookies.
Betting going Savvy
Betting in the 1990’s and till 03 happened only through conferences held between people and phone calls; it was static in nature. Once fixed, it was done and depending on the match result, people will be paid once these cash rich leagues such as IPL were introduced, the amount of money involved became more as participants became more, hence betting began to be conducted globally. Say, when a match starts bookies mediate between the different participants. They also bribe out certain players prior to the match itself, so that they get a tight finish match where they can earn lots of money. Each bookie sets up a video conference with different sub-bookies and participants all over India, gulf countries and also deals are struck with people globally through the use of VOIP [voice over internet protocol]. Alternative phone calls are managed for local betting too, as facilities are available in plenty multiple bets at different periods of the match are organized making betting dynamic. Moreover we also came to know that to have a better say on the game and efficient predictions, the team owner of Chennai super Kings was fed with cash to leak team strategies. Hence betting used technology to make it immensely interesting in all angles so that it remains a bounty business.
Impact of betting on Fans
Betting makes people rich, it creates an earning platform for players who don’t make it to the international level, but besides being illegal, it also affects the Spirit of cricket and Morale of the Fans. We have all gone through our days when we come back home after playing cricket decorating our dress with silt that stained when we pulled off an outstanding catch which makes your mom angry still we will relish that moment when we go to bed that day, that was our love and dedication towards cricket even at ‘maidan’ level, hence seeing players fix matches always hurts a fan dearly. You so passionately watch a match till midnight and next day you wake up to the news that the match was fixed, nullifies your experience and feelings. The ardent cricket fans in their 40’s and 50’s have lost interest in the gentleman’s game which now has its backbone among the youth whose interest remains dubious if this saga goes UN-curtailed.
Solutions to Counter attack Betting
The most impact solution to betting is nothing but improving level of awareness among players. Players need to be ‘educated’ on the consequence of betting and if someone is proven guilty the punishment needs to be career-threatening. Besides these players are matured individuals, they need to be true to their conscience, playing for the country or the club which has rested responsibility on their shoulders should be of utmost priority than money. Another solution is legalize betting , if betting is legalized these illegal conduct of bookies will be stopped and this will never influence any games if a careful watch is kept on them and interaction with players will also be stopped and it will never interfere with the game and it will be isolated. Betfair.com is a betting firm that is head-quartered in London which being legalized is running smoothly. Betting can also be stopped from being threatening if the Cricket board takes the respective state’s police help. This brings in power to them and the wrong-doers will also think of their state as betting will also make them being charged by the police and amount to arrest and moreover with improved surveillance of police , the going gets tough for the bookies.
Cricket is a game celebrated in a country like INDIA and has produced All Time great sporting icons. It is followed en mass, henceforth preserving its purity is very important so that both the fans and the players can cherish being part of the game called cricket.