Call it match-fixing or spot-fixing, the story of attempts to influence the outcome of cricket matches seems never-ending. On Sunday, there were news reports that more players are under the scanner for their involvement in such dubious practices.
It has often been suggested that legalizing betting will put crooked bookies out of business. This may or may not cleanse cricket. For one, legalizing betting will not eliminate attempts at match-fixing, which needs to be distinguished from betting. Betting can make use of data such as that of past encounters between teams, the stadia where matches are played, weather conditions and so on to generate probabilities of outcomes on which bets can be placed. Match-fixing involves criminals and is hardly amenable to such control, if there is any will to control it at all. Designing a regulatory framework, too, will be a difficult task. Legalized betting is an enticing idea whose time is yet to arrive in India.