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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

No ball; betting; Wager and Insurance.... Marine Insurance Act

Skirmishes and crossing the Line of Control have always given rise to conflicts !  - quite often we hear of them when our neighbour tries to sneak in or send trained hardcore militants across the border….

Do you know that there is the  Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS],  an international arbitration body set up to settle disputes related to sport headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland.   Mohammad Amir  was pronounced guilty, suspended and banned for 5 years – curtailing a promising career marred by lure of money.  Amir was touted as having the potential to be a leading fast bowler by former Pakistani left arm fast bowler Wasim Akram.  On 29 August 2010, he was implicated in allegations of spot-fixing and is currently serving a five-year ban for allegedly bowling two-deliberate no-balls.  In November 2011, Amir was convicted, along with Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, of conspiracy charges relating to spot-fixing. He was given a six-month prison sentence.

It was a cruel blow to the ardent fans of the game, who continue to  believes that matches are played and won on the Cricket field.  That incident ridiculed his following ~ with more people wondering whether it was indeed restricted to that incident alone ~ and in recent times, every occurrence – be it flow of runs or lack of it; falling of wickets or lack of hit; dropped catch and more are viewed with suspicion and cynicism  ~  the fickleness of the game, the fact that positions could change vastly too soon, have all added glamour to the game – but are they real became the new Q  ?

It was not a chance occurrence that shifted the decision on occurrences on field to a Court.  They were not to be the first of sportspersons ! three footballers, including two from Sheffield Wednesday, were jailed for throwing matches.  It was a sting operation by the “News of the World” that unravelled a serious allegation that brought the roof caving in….  it was about  3 deliveries that were recorded in statistics books as extras – but will remain greased for ever. Mazhar Majeed had reportedly assured that these would happen with precision. The first ball of the third over of the innings, Amir is to bowl the first over & then the last ball of the tenth over to be bowled by Asif.  So, former Test captain Salman Butt, 27, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28,  who plotted to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test as part of a lucrative betting scam were all punished.  

The scandal came to light  after an undercover reporter recorded UK-based sports agent Mazhar Majeed, 36, boasting of how he could arrange for Pakistan cricketers to rig.  It was the 2010 Test at Lords when Majeed promised the reporter that Asif and Amir would deliver 3 no balls at specific points…. They were delivered as promised !   The probability of someone predicting this by chance was estimated by a cricket statistician as 1.5 million to one.

For the uninformed, a no ball occurs when a bowler oversteps the line behind which balls should be delivered.  There was another ‘no ball’ that shocked Indian fans….. ‘‘Oney nam, no ball ekak danna puluwan’    - it was India Lanka match, and it was a deliberate no ball delivered to deny Virender Sehwag a century.   Whether another ton got added to the list of Sehwag may not be so material but the act and the attitude of Lankans left lot to be said.  The words at the start were clearly heard uttered by Tilakaratne Dilshan who was fielding at point.  It was loud and clear instruction to Randiv literally instructing him to bowl a no ball.  The TV footage shows Viru taking guard, Dilshan’s voice is lewd, Sangakkara certainly heard it – though Viru would not have understood what was uttered in Sinhalese. Leaving Sehwag stranded by this plan was simply school boyish and immature act. The rule is also ridiculous as the ball would be counted as having been played by Sehwag but the six scored of it would not count. 

The conviction of Butt and Asif was welcome, and was seen as the start to the fight against corruption in cricket. Corruption is notoriously difficult to establish. At one level this means that whatever is proven in a court of law, like today, represents the tip of the iceberg.

In Insurance contract  there are some primary requirements – in property Insurance, there has to be a subject matter and loss or damage to it would form the nuclei. In general,  insurance is against fortuity – something that can occur or not happening and the policy holder standing to lose by its occurrence ~ the avowed principle of indemnity – would respond by placing back the policy holder in the position that one was prior to the loss.

Now the Q posed by a friend of mine was : ‘whether there can be an Insurance Policy covering betting / gambling’ – he contended that ‘the occurrence is chance’ and the better could win or lose the amount that he puts on betting…..

There are many many forms of gambling – from horse racing – in fact extending to many other weird animals too…. To lottery tickets and more…… Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value (referred to as "the stakes") on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods. Gambling thus requires three elements be present: consideration, chance and prize.  Gambling in many forms is legal in some countries. Gambling is also a major international commercial activity.

Wager (n) : dictionary meaning :
1. a. An agreement under which each bettor pledges a certain amount to the other depending on the outcome of an unsettled matter. b. A matter bet on; a gamble.
2. Something staked on an uncertain outcome; a bet. See Synonyms at bet.

The Marine Insurance Act, in no uncertain terms states that ‘contract of Marine insurance by way of gaming or waging is void’.   Here is Sec 6 of Marine Insurance Act 1963 reproduced : [it is the same Sec 4 of MI Act of 1906 of UK]:

6. Avoidance of wagering contracts
(1) Every contract of marine insurance by way of wagering is void.
(2) A contract of marine insurance is deemed to be a wagering contract-
(a) where the assured has not an insurable interest as defined by this Act, and the contract is entered into with no expectation of acquiring such an interest; or
(b) where the policy is made "interest or no interest", or "without further proof of interest than the policy itself", or "without benefit of salvage to the insurer" , or subject to any other like term:
Provided that, where there is no possibility of salvage, a policy may be effected without benefit of salvage to the insurer".

So, some more Marine learnt from Cricket

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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