And for a Friday, as my favourite summer entertainment, IPL cricket, crosses the halfway mark, some thoughts….. some musings…..

Betting houses in Developed World. Sporting events are funded and huge Govt tax collections. India must legalise IPL betting.

The raw talent, Team composition, Strategy and most importantly role of leadership is abundantly displayed this season. Erstwhile champions MI and CSK are competing for the “Wooden spoon” at the bottom of the table. An inspired leader, Hardik Pandya leading his brand new team, Gujarat Titans, to the top spot at the half way stage and will surely qualify for the play offs. My friend Sanjiv Goenka put together another, so far very successful team, new brand, LSG. I suppose the SG in LSG could also be SG-RPG Group, his part of the RPG Business empire. Who could ever imagine the young pace sensational talent – Umran Malik from J&K, his last match 4-0-25-5, five wickets firing away at top speeds of 150+ KMPH….. unbelievable. Or the old War Horse Dinesh Karthik, all of almost 40, knocking at the selectors to be called back as a “finisher”. IPL is TV sporting at its best in India.

Not just sports, it’s a huge economic engine driving unbelievable revival in service sectors like hospitality, entertainment, media, advertisement, travel etc. it’s almost 70,000 crores of direct revenue and at least 50% more in indirect contribution. Let’s not forget this year though we got back IPL to India due Covid precautions. All teams are housed only in Mumbai and all matches in 4 stadiums between Pune and Mumbai. Fans are travelling all the way to Mumbai and all hotels are full. Even super luxury hotels like Taj Palace in Mumbai charge 25-30,000 Rs for a normal single room. Imagine if our politicians were to shun the pseudo-moral attitude and allow official betting on IPL, like in the developed world. UK has the most liberal laws on betting. Some firms in London offer you odds to bet on the number of runs scored in each over or even each ball. The incomes are huge. At 30% income tax, Govt will collect at least 30,000 crores in taxes. App based gaming and prizes are allowed. Why not actual betting. Cricketers are professionals and paid huge amounts. Anti corruption measures by sports bodies are very strict. International working laws and rules can be enforced in India. It will happen some day in the future.

Let’s all meanwhile enjoy the games. Hope and pray that Covid does not disturb the flow and crowds can throng and support their teams. Let’s support IPL, the sporting way, the ethical way, the SEEGOS way.