Place Your Bets! If Gambling is Legalized then…

Posted on July 16, 2010

By Hitesh Trivedi:

Life’s a gamble, I need not prove that, you already know. And every day in some form or the other we are placing our bets. Proposing to your crush is a gamble, the fallout of which can be an excruciating end to a healthy developing friendship, or if the Gods of Probability chance to smile upon you, what’s to say then… 🙂

Even the entrance exams are a gamble; around 4 lakh students gasping for some 1,500 odd seats is a damn big gamble. For its hard even to imagine how much is at stake! Talent, more often than not, takes a back seat and it boils down to ‘who cracked the jackpot?!’. It’s a lucky draw situation in the end.

Take investment transactions. Brand equity are all a gamble – putting your money on something that’s portrayed to be impressive! The stock markets are nothing but a calculative gamble which some talking heads on television try to prove as math! Life insurance, that’s a gamble, a company salesman nags me day in and day out to buy his policy, threatening me of my impending death and all the doom that will struck my family once I go fishing in hell! Hola my friend, Hola! Go slow! Doesn’t your company want me to live and fill your coffers with my money as premiums? Even the giants like Goldman Sachs are in trouble over hiding valuable input regarding investment from their customers; reportedly they pushed their investors in the housing sector knowing that the investments are doomed to fail!

So you see, the old and grand sepulcher of globalization, giving a false appearance of infallibility, is built on the ethics of gambling, where a ruthless market force determines where the tide shall turn! As they say, there aren’t any emotions in business.

So, after all this sacred knowledge, i’m sure you will agree that Risk is the other name of Life, or probability is. Whatever!

So when there’s so much of gambling involved, why keep cricket out? By any means, I don’t see cricket to be inferior to horse racing, after all nobody puts on skimpy clothes and shakes their.. ahem! When some or the other horse wins or trips!

Let’s get into the gory details of the forbidden corridors now. Since the great Indian match fixing scandal smothered the careers of greats like Hansie Cronje, Md. Ajharuddin and Ajay Jadeja (okay he falls short being a ‘great’ by a big margin lol), the speculations or rather the fear has been rife in cricket of another episode of the malicious evil practice. The latest casualty of fear happened to be the majestically hypnotist IPL, the BCCI’s answer to Rakhi ka Swayamwar!

Newspaper reports suggest that match fixing is rampant in the league, with some senior players luring the juniors into fixing the outcome of matches which the general public is fooled into believing are hard fought! Now you understand the great Indian tradition of corruption. I am proud of India’s culture! It’s reported that those involved in match fixing are superstars of Indian cricket & even an international player who is a captain of a team. Do I see Shane Warne consulting his attorney already?!

One report quotes a bookie as saying,” The stakes are so high that all operators want a share of the pie. The value of IPL is well over Rs.6,000 crores and the betting on each match is around Rs.500 crores.” Whoopsie! Did I hear crores?!! One report goes on to suggest that there might be members of underworld who have invested in the teams, so does that mean Mumbai is finally of Dawood Ibrahim’s and Sachin works for him!! No matter what, but this is exciting!

Criminalizing an activity does in no means banish it, it instead draws it underground, in the havens of underworld and criminals who torment and flex their muscles to get their way all the way! White money becomes black and here begins a dark trail of extortions and sleaze that splits into different directions, leading nowhere. Estimates are that the gambling industry is worth US$60 billions, that’s 1% of India’s current GDP!! And you need not be a Sherlock Holmes to guess where all this money goes, surely ‘D’ does not believe in charity!! This money then nourishes drug cartels and may be terrorism! Right they bet on our league, loot our money, make bombs of it and then bomb our cities! Is this also a part of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ program of the tourism ministry?

Now if gambling is legalized all this money can be brought under the gambits of taxing circles. We can have an idea of the sources and sinks of all this money and this may lead to some startling revelations on the part of our ‘oh so consciously pure’ politicians, after all not every politician has a fetish for narcissism like Mayawati! Plus, there can be another ministry in the cabinet, much to the delight of lusty second rung politicos who always miss out because the Big Guys must be treated first. They can regulate the industry, imply some sort of a sin tax with awfully high rates, like they have on alcohol (much to my displeasure, whole of pocket money is busted if you decide to have Vodka for a change!). You can give away licenses to form casinos, which will quite a boost to the tourism industry as well, don’t you know how the economy of Las Vegas works? Make a body to audit these casinos and the licencees. All this will help bring a money making business from the sallow underbellies to the fore and if I can be slightly more ambitious then India’s GDP will take a leap ahead! No doubts, gambling just like excessive drinking is a menace, which like some curse destroys families and force out their happiness and liberty, but then no one can help a maniac who is hell bent on self-destruction, could anybody be of any help to Viveik Oberoi? Tell! Instead if the gambling is run by criminals then it makes it all the more difficult to help such maniacs. So I believe it’s time to break the archaic chains of imposed moralities that prevent this nation from doing anything that can be treated as an outcome of conviction rather than fear or hypocrisy. Let’s not be narrow minded and for a change let maturity drive morality.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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