One of the biggest potential markets for Asian sports betting is cricket, but potential gaps in integrity have made it a dubious betting proposition. Sri Lanka, seeking to make their own sports outcomes more trusted, have now taken the first step towards changing that picture by making all match fixing illegal.
ESPN Cric Info reports Sri Lanka’s parliament has passed the bill labelled “Prevention of Offences Related to Sports.” Sports Minister Harin Fernando’s bill now provides a possible 10 year prison sentence for any person caught potentially corrupting sports, along with various fines.
The bill was drafted with the help of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti Corruption Unit, and applies to all Sri Lankan sports. The outlet notes though that while any match fixing is now illegal, the legislation was crafted as a response to match fixing in cricket.
The bill was crafted to be very broad in scope, but that could be a very good thing for keeping sports legitimate. Not only is the act of match fixing illegal, but providing inside information, misapplying rules, players betting on games, , providing or receiving inappropriate bets, omitting important information, associating with players in an attempt to corrupt them, and failing to report a known instance of attempted match fixing are all named as criminal acts.
Cricket is one of the biggest potential untapped markets for sports betting, available at some Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) outlets, but with rampant match fixing still occurring, major gambling outlets are still not too much bothered that countries like India haven’t issued a clear message on the legalization of sports betting just yet. Without a quality product to bet on, the potential riches to be had are too illicit to touch.
That could quickly change if countries like Sri Lanka and even India take a hardline approach to match fixing and clean up the sport. It’s a monstrous task to take on, but a necessary one if cricket is to ever become a legitimate betting product.