How a Rs 10,000 crore betting racket operated in Bengaluru this IPL season
- Though betting remains illegal in India, there are thousands who bet on the sly
- Bengaluru has always been a key centre in the IPL betting industry
- A person, who wants to make a bet, contacts a local bookie in the city and invests the moolah
- The local bookie then gets in touch with the main bookie who sits in some part of the world
The Indian Premier League (IPL) might appear to exist for the love and passion for the sport but in truth it has a much bigger ecosystem, which also includes a gigantic illegal betting industry in its underbelly, where crores of rupees change hands every day.
The betting business surrounding the IPL is massive... in fact it's one of the biggest in the world. Though betting remains illegal in India, there are thousands of people who bet on the sly in almost every city and town across the country every day. Some bets are placed on matches, while some others on how the next ball or over will turn out.
Despite last year's demonetisation drive, the betting industry has only flourished during the recently concluded edition of the IPL.
The Delhi police arrested nine bookies from the Rohini area on Monday for allegedly betting on the final. Three bookies were caught along with cash worth Rs 4,40,000 from a hotel in Kanpur three weeks ago, while the potential involvement of cricket officials, like curators, in the racket was exposed after the Uttar Pradesh police arrested bookies in Ghaziabad two days later. But all that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Bengaluru has always been a key centre in the IPL betting industry. A whopping Rs 10,000 crore was transacted in bettings that happened in and around the city alone during IPL 2017, according to a report by The New Indian Express. But not much of it has come to light except for a few isolated incidents like a raid at a house in Subramanyanagar, where Rs 30,000 and two mobile phones were seized from bookies.
The IPL betting business in Bengaluru is systematic and organised, like it is in most parts of the country.
A person, who wants to make a bet, contacts a local bookie in the city and invests the moolah. The local bookie then gets in touch with the main bookie who sits in some part of the world and decides on the odds of the match. The business has no documentation to trace back dealings and runs purely on trust. The punter cannot go to the cops even if he doesn't get the money he is entitled to as betting is illegal in the country. However, there is a certain level of honesty and transparency which is maintained across the betting industry, especially considering it's an illegal business.
With the betting industry doing business worth thousands of crores of rupees in every match, imagine what the government could have made out it, had they legalised betting in the country and taxed it. Last month, the Supreme Court decided to examine whether betting and gambling could be legalised in sports like in Western countries. It's a welcome move and one in the right direction. Apart from the massive monetary benefits, corrupt activities like match-fixing and spot-fixing can also be curbed to an extent, by framing laws to allow and regulate betting in sports in the country.