Former BCCI president & MOS Finance Anurag Thakur says, ‘legalising betting can check match-fixing’

Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur on Thursday said legalising betting and getting it into the formal economy will help contain unholy and corrupt” practices like match-fixing besides giving tax revenues.

He made the remarks at an event hosted by ICICI Securities, responding to a suggestion by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister’s (EACPM) part-time member and mutual fund industry veteran Nilesh Shah, who pitched for legalising betting in the country.

It can be noted that betting on sports is legal across many countries of the world and reports of such cartels being busted frequently get reported, pointing to a prevalence of the activity.

Shah said there is a natural instinct among Indians to bet and gamble, which is seen in abundance in places like Las Vegas, Macau and Nepal.

“My suggestion will be to legalise betting and gambling activities, which are underground. They continue to exist in our society,” he said.

Responding to the same, Thakur, who has also been closely involved with cricket administration, said countries like Australia and England have legalised betting.

Thousands of crore of revenue comes to the exchequer through the activity and it gets spent on development of the sport or in other activities, he said.

“If we look at the problem of match-fixing, then the trends in betting can give us leads on whether something unholy is happening or not. Betting can become a potent tool to stop fixing, he said.

Thakur added that betting is systemic and the same system can be very useful in watching over people who are indulging in match-fixing.