The Super Bowl final played on 3rd February saw Kansas City Chiefs emerging as the winner in a tightly fought battle against San Francisco 49ers. However, a leading news portal jokingly declared the betting industry as the real winners of the tie. Reportedly an amount of $270 Million was handled in the legal betting circles. However, this number seems minuscule when compared with the total amount of $ 6.8 Billion moved during the playoff (both legally and illegally.)
Now if you are a cricket fan, you must be wondering why would I preach about an alien sport played in a First World Country while talking about Cricket. Well, the reason is not as distant as it looks.
Betting in IPL:
The two months of IPL in India are no less than a festive period. The betting activities in India escalate to such an extent that reports suggest almost 70% of betting money in India is laundered during these 50 days. A famous cricket publication house recently interviewed with a renowned bookmaker. The Bookmaker disclosed the fact that the liquidity (volume of money in the exchange markets) in the IPL season is so high that a professional trader can feed off for the entire year with the earning in the IPL season.
So that’s good. A person who can use his intelligence and figure out the appropriate stats to win money is winning it. Nothing wrong. Right? Well, guess what? This is where the problem commences.
The demon called Match-Fixing:
The problem starts with Bookmaker’s greed to earn more traction. The greed has taken several ugly turns in the past and has compelled the players to make adjustments with the ethics of the very game which most of them treat as a religion. The stomach-churning manoeuvre by the players is sickening, to say the very least. The fact that such a repulsive and nauseating affair is performed for some extra dollars in your bank account is enough to make you obnoxious.
IPL has had a long history in relation with match-fixing, and various big tickets players such as S Sreesanth and Ajit Chandela have been suspended due to a new variant of fixing known as Spot Fixing. A disgraced bookmaker who was caught red-handed in the heinous act of match-fixing told that the shorter duration of IPL pushed him towards the dark alley of match-fixing. A few subject matter experts believe that as the complete IPL season is stuffed into two months, it is a race against time for these bookmakers. They look to earn as much money as possible in the two-month window, which leads them to set the wrong examples.
Even though the activity of betting is often treated as a taboo or illegal activity in India, no Article in the India Penal Code declares betting as an illegal activity. However, match-fixing is a crime and is something that cheats all the bookmakers or casual betters vulnerable.
How will converting IPL into all year round league solve the problem and how can NFL set an example for betting in IPL:
Now, the four major leagues in the USA are something that can be compared with IPL. You ask why? Well, for the following few reasons:
- The USA is the only country hosting a major league which can be compared with India in terms of diversity and size.
- The sheer amount of passion in US nationals for their sports incomparable to the love Indians has for Cricket.
- Offline betting is illegal in 43 states of the USA, whereas 27 states in India deem offline betting as an unlawful activity. However, online betting is perfectly legal in both nations.
Well, the comparison doesn’t seem crazy anymore. Does it? Now if India wants to rectify the problem of match-fixing and make betting fun again in the country, it might consider following the NFL, NHL, NBA or MLB of the league which is played all around the year.
Now the question which might arise is how will changing the duration of a tournament will change and effect match-fixing and make betting more popular and fair? Well, the primary reasons are:
- Well for starters the odds are not steep in a league played all round the year. In Laymen’s terms, the longer the duration of the tournament, the severe effects it externally. The longer length of the competition will make spotting the player who is continually making suspicious errors an easier prospect.
- The bookmakers won’t be racing against time, and instead of a two-month window, they could don their trade throughout the year. This factor makes them less susceptible to making errors which lie in the red corner of the court of law.
The two reasons mentioned above would be the significant factors which could make IPL fixing free if turned into an all-year-round league.