Since the IPL spot fixing scandal broke last week, Indian officials have been cracking down on bookmakers across the country, even going so far as to arrest several gamblers. Since last Thursday, officials have confirmed that 18 people have been arrested, among them 3 IPL players, four former players and 11 bookmakers and their assistants.
On Thursday, the Kolkata police swooped down on the Ultadanga region and arrested a bookmaker and a number of others involved. Santosh Pandey, speaking for the Kolkata Police, said “We arrested 10 people, including a bookie, Wednesday night. They will be produced before a court soon.”
The scandal has shed light on one of the IPL players involved, Sreesanth who, the media claim, planned to become a betting magnate in India and overseas. “Sreesanth knew the pitfalls of such a business but he could not ignore the money associated with it,” claims the Daily Bhaskar. Media outlets have revealed that Sreesanth owns a company, S36 Sports and Entertainmnet which ran ‘betting houses’, in which he has a 74% stake. The famous cricketer’s former coach, P Sivakumar has the remaining 26%.
While many would say that owning a betting company is a conflict of interest for top cricket players, Sivakumar defended Sreemanth’s involvement in the industry, calling it his ‘post-retirement plan’.
“If Sreesanth settles abroad, he can run a betting house,” said the former coach. “There are many countries where betting is allowed. We have not committed any illegality.”
There have been recent calls to legalize sports betting in India to avoid match fixing scandals such as the one which broke recently, and to allow the government to cash in on revenue generated from gambling licenses and taxation on a very profitable industry.