Monday, 30 August 2010

Legalising gambling would help stop corruption in sport.

The revelations regarding the Pakistan cricket team are at the same time a tragedy for the game (indeed for sport in general) and also the inevitable consequence of prohibition. Assuming that the allegations have some substance, it seems that the corrupt hand of Asia’s “gambling syndicates” has infected the great game of cricket – and not for the first time. Why is this?

The main reason is that throughout Asia – and in too many other places – gambling is illegal. And – given that people will gamble whether it’s illegal or not – that means the punting business is run by criminals. Which of course in nothing new – ask ‘Shoeless Joe’ Jackson!

If you ban something that people want to do, you hand it over to criminals for them to run. And, given that those criminals are (ipso facto) unregulated, the result is the fix – the criminals set up the system to increase their advantage. Forget about the bank having advantage – this is the bank ensuring it wins.

For the sake of sport – and for the liberty of snails climbing up walls or droplets running down windows – we need gambling to be legalised. Only then can we have any chance of controlling the corruption of sport by the bookies and the sharks.

1 comment:

Pam Nash said...

In principle, I agree - but there is a real drawback. Pakistan is a predominantly Muslim country and The Koran teaches that gambling is evil and forbids all Muslims from taking part in it - that's why gambling is illegal in Pakistan; in a way, it makes the alleged actions of the Pakistani cricketers even more incomprehensible. Of course Pakistanis gamble, everyone knows they do, but it's done 'behind closed doors' and blind eyes are turned to it. But I cannot see the day when it's legalised, due to the religious restriction; it would be a brave Pakistani Govt. that went directly against the teachings of the Koran.