Betting has always been a subject of taboo and illegality ever since it was first practiced. What probably started as a means of fun activity has gradually evolved into a full-fledged commercial business, with scores of people relying solely on betting to make a living. Sports betting has been popular for centuries, right from the start of the Olympics and the bloody fights between gladiators in the Roman colosseums.
Betting has been done on all kinds of sports, starting from horse racing, football, NBA, NFL, etc. with fans and enthusiasts of each sport placing bets on their preferred events. In Asia, and particularly in the countries of the Indian subcontinent, viz. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, betting on cricket has long been prevalent.
While in certain Asian regions like Macau and Hong Kong, betting is legal, the majority of countries like India consider betting illegal and punishable under law.
This has given birth to a huge black market for illegal betting operations. A recent study revealed that almost 3 lakh crore rupees change hands every year in the Indian underground betting market. This is a huge number, and given that the business is illegal, it leaves lakhs of punters exposed to fraudulent bookies and bookmakers.
In the past decade, Asian countries have been some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Incomes have risen consistently, and so has the quality of life. Sales and usage of smartphones has increased rapidly along with the penetration of internet connections.
All this has led to people leaning more and more towards online services, and betting is no exception. While betting is illegal in many countries, the laws governing online betting are almost non-existent, technically making online betting legal in most countries. Therefore, more and more international bookmakers like BetWay, Bet365, and Casumo have started online operations targeting Asian countries.
With cricket being one of the most favorite sports across Asia, it is no wonder that there is a huge market for cricket betting in Asia.
Most online betting sites are regulated by a reputed gaming authority, lending them credibility with respect to the safety of personal details as well as the safety of the monies deposited with such sites. The whole operation is much more transparent with respect to the odds and payouts, compared to shady underground bookmakers.
Online betting makes it easier for punters to do live betting, i.e. betting on various aspects of an ongoing cricket match, like individual scores, partnerships, number of runs in an over, mode of dismissal of the next wicket, etc. Such real-time betting opens up newer avenues if earning, both for the bookies as well as the punters.
Most online betting sites are based in European countries and are governed by the law applicable in that country, thus exempting them from the laws of countries where betting is banned. So technically, the players can bet without the fear of law and be rest assured about the safety of their wagers.
Underground betting syndicates were notorious for their attempts to fix matches, which is evident from numerous match-fixing scandals unearthed in the past. There were allegations of match-fixing in domestic tournaments like the Ranji trophy, in international matches, and recently in T20 leagues like the IPL. With most betting now moving online, such incidents should gradually decrease, as the robe of illegality gradually vanishes, providing a level playing field for everyone.
Illegal betting had given rise to a huge amount of corruption, as it is impossible to run such a widespread operation without the connivance of authorities. With online betting, the corruption will decrease too, and as laws regulating online betting are framed, it will open up newer avenues for the government to generate income via taxes, with some estimates suggesting that the revenue for the government could be almost 19,000 crore rupees via taxes.
Thus, as cricket betting moves online, it is a win-win for everyone including bookies, players as well as the government.