Mr. Haroon Lorgat, the CEO of the International Cricket Council (ICC), urged India’s lawmakers to change Indian gambling laws and legalize betting on cricket matches. Over the past ten years there have been very few cases of corruption in international cricket that didn’t have a direct connection with India. Major Indian organized crime syndicates that operate out of Mumbai control the lucrative illegal cricket betting industry. It has been estimated that a one day India-Pakistan international match can generates $20 million in profits for organized crime.
The organized crime syndicates who control illegal cricket betting are experts at corrupting Cricket players. Prior to the start of the match the syndicate knows exactly how much money was bet on which team and at what odds. These numbers determine which team must win and which must loose, for the syndicate to generate millions of dollars in additional revenue. Cricket players, are bribed in advance and do not know whether they should play as best as possible, or make forced errors. Prior to the start of the game, as soon as no-more-bets are accepted by bookies, the corrupt players receive a signal as to whether their team should win or lose.
Mr. Haroon Lorgat is still optimistic that this year’s Feb 19-Apr 2 World Cup, which will be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, will be free of corruption. Few people share his unbridled optimism. For now, Mr. Lorgat along with England Captain Andrew Strauss believe that stiff punishment is the best way to prevent players from becoming corrupt – “The important thing with any punishment is that it sends a strong message to people who might be tempted to do it in the future that if you do it, your career is going to be substantially reduced if not completely destroyed.”
Mr. Lorgat is certain that this year’s World Cup will be corruption free for two reasons – “The main reason is that the vast majority of players are honest players. They play the game in the spirit that it should be played. They are not seeking to make financial gains out of untoward means. Secondly, we are now more aware than ever before about how corruption can destroy the team from within, and have multiple strategies to detect it in advance.”
Mr. Lorgat stated that “ICC has made inquiries (with the Indian legislative branch) regarding cricket internet gambling, and these are the things we are working towards. I agree with the notion that if gambling is regulated it is a lot better than if it is not regulated.”
In India, legal gambling is restricted to horse-racing and casinos which are only permitted in a couple of states. Online casinos in India are not mentioned in any Indian gambling laws, thus it is in legal limbo: it is neither forbidden nor allowed. Online casinos have existed in India for years and have remained unmolested by neither Tax Agencies nor Police Forces.