In the wake of the growing controversy surrounding the Indian Premiere League (IPL), and the accusations of illegal betting and possibility of matches being fixed, the Times of India, on 23 April 2010, invited a few people to comment on this issue under the title, "Legalize gambling, subject it to regulation". I was one of them, and the following was my brief comment.
Gambling is socially acceptable, but legally not. It is this dichotomy which is at the root of the periodic bouts of headlines about betting and match fixing that comes to haunt us.
The IPL format was tailor-made for betting, and cricket could have benefited even more had betting been legal. By bringing the bets on the table, the competing interests of various stakeholders would have ensured that the prospect of match-fixing did not affect them. We will do well to remember that the epic tussle between the good and the evil in the Mahabharata could not have happened if people did not know that the game of dice was fixed. The good would not have won had the game been played underground. Freedom to choose, and bearing the consequences, is at the root of free society, a lesson from the epic we may do well to remember.