British Minister to discuss betting regulation in India

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> In an attempt to persuade India to legalise betting, British Sports minister Hugh Robertson wants to discuss the issue with Sports Minister M S Gill.

Updated: September 08, 2010 16:30 IST
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In an attempt to persuade India to legalise betting, British Sports minister Hugh Robertson wants to discuss the issue with his Indian counterpart M S Gill during the Commonwealth Sports Ministers summit next month.

Robertson has written a letter to Gill, requesting that the issue of sports betting and integrity be added to the agenda for the summit during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, a report in Daily Telegraph said.

Robertson's move came in the wake of biggest fixing scandal to hit to the game which led to provisional suspension of three Pakistani players by the ICC.

The British Minister has also requested a meeting with ICC President Sharad Pawar to discuss the threat corruption was posing before the game.

Everytime a fixing scandal comes out, the connection of Indian bookies is always reported.

It is alleged that the gambling syndicates who manipulate players' performances, operate out of major Indian cities.

"Bookmaking is illegal in India but that has not prevented a thriving industry estimated to be worth more than 250 million a year operating beyond the reach of the national and international authorities," the report said.

Robertson feels that legalisation of betting will help curb the menace.

"One option is to persuade countries where [illegal] syndicates operate to make betting legal, so that the markets can be regulated," Robertson told Daily Telegraph.

"Currently the main countries where corruption is alleged to originate are beyond the reach of any gambling regulation which makes controlling it very difficult."

The British Minister said match-fixing and spot-fixing posed a grave threat to the integrity of cricket and other team sports and the Commonwealth summit represents an opportunity to discuss the issue with the governments of all major cricket-playing nations.

"The greatest threat to team sports are the sort of integrity issues raised by the current allegations in cricket. I am absolutely determined to cut this out because fixing of the kind alleged is an absolute cancer in sport.

"As soon as you lose the integrity of team sports you might as well stop and go home, so we are determined to do whatever we can to stamp this out. The Commonwealth summit includes the sports ministers of every cricket nation so it's an excellent forum to take some soundings," he said.

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