IPL ruling could boost Indian sports betting

IPL ruling could boost Indian sports betting

Thursday, August 6, 2015 Totally Gaming
An Indian judge found that cricket betting could be considered a game of skill

The future of India’s $60bn (€54.9bn) gambling industry could be influenced by a controversial ruling in relation to spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament.

Rajasthan Royals bowler S Sreesanth and 35 others accused of crimes were exonerated by Judge Neena Krishna Bansal at New Delhi's Patiala House Court in a trial related to fixing that was alleged to have taken place during the 2013 season. 

As part of the ruling, Judge Bansal found that charges related to illegal betting should be dropped as wagering on cricket should be deemed as a game of skill, referring to a 1996 Supreme Court judgement that made the same case for gambling on horse racing.

“Cricket as a game of skill requires hand-eye co-ordination for throwing, catching and hitting,” said Judge Bansal. “The game of cricket, therefore, cannot be held as a game of chance, but is a game of skill which is exempted under Section 12 of Public Gambling Act, from the definition of gambling.

“Therefore, even if it is accepted that there was rampant betting going on in the IPL6, but it is an activity excluded under Section 12 of Public Gambling Act, and is not an offence for which any of the accused can be held liable.”

TotallyGaming.com reported last month that franchises Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have been banned from the IPL for two years after they were found to have been involved in illegal betting and match-fixing by a panel appointed by India's Supreme Court.

Sreesanth, Royals co-owner Raj Kundra and Gurunath Meiyappan of Super Kings were among those banned from all cricket-related activities for life by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Following the ruling, Indian gambling expert Jay Sayta told website Scroll.in that the judge’s findings should be a wake-up call for state and federal regulators across India, warning that the market could grow further without adequate regulation. 

Sayta said: “After the latest judgement, ingenious entrepreneurs may just use this legal loophole to start openly offering betting facilities online and offline.

“Assuming that the observations are upheld by higher courts, it could pose a headache for law enforcement agencies, more so because a previous Supreme Court decision states that playing games of skill is a fundamental right and cannot be prohibited.”

A 2010 KPMG report estimates the total size of the Indian gambling industry - both regulated and underground - to be $60bn.

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