For those who think that the recent police raids, both in Mumbai and Delhi, have led to bookies going underground, think again. Betting in cricket is a thriving market has almost become a parallel economy with its own payment system and rules. Though no one can accurately say how much money is involved in game, a conservative estimate is that it easily runs into Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000 crore per match.
No one can put exact figure as the system is run in a decentralised manner — for instance, a bookie in Mumbai would be getting bets from his punters (those who place bets) for a total of Rs 100 crore in a match while a Rajasthan bookie could get Rs 125 crore.
Bookies don’t keep their accounts in a centralised data base; they write down the details of the bets in ledgers and account books that are not available to anyone else. So unless the bookie from Rajasthan tells the Mumbai bookie, the latter would not have any idea as to on how much money is involved.
And we are not talking of just one bookie in a city for in Mumbai itself there are thousands of bookies. Small bookies are the ones who accept minimal money and they could be anyone from your panwallah to your next door neighbour.
“The minimum that a bookie will accept is Rs 1,000 and only small bookies will take this much. However, bets this small are only placed in the rural areas,” said Amrit Makhija (name changed), a bookie.
While there is a fixed minimum amount, there is no upper limit as to how much one can bet. Big bookies such as Shobhan Kalachowkie and Junior Calcutta take bets worth crores.
“You can bet Rs 10 khoka (1 crore is 1 khokha ) or even 100 khokha ; it depends on your paying capacity and whether the bookie can handle that amount. If he can’t handle, say, a Rs 100 crore bet, then you can spread the betting money with other bookies, explained Ritesh Jani (name changed), another bookie in Mumbai.
How are bets placed?
There are two ways of betting in a cricket match. The first one is to bet on the outcome of the match, where a bookie bets money on his team. The other one is based on the outcome of six overs.
In the six-over betting, bets are placed on how many runs can be scored by a team in a limited time period. For example, one can bet 60 or 80 runs can be scored in the next six overs. Sreesanth’s arrest is in connection with the six-over spot fixing as he in collusion with bookies tried to give maximum runs to the opposition in six overs.
Who can place bets?
A bookie will not take bets from an unknown person — people are inducted only through proper referrals.
“The whole system runs on trust; it’s not just about the money. If someone loses a huge amount of money, how do we recover it? This is where the reference comes in. If you don’t pay up, we make the guy who got you in pay up,” said Jani.
Only a few don’t honour their bets, he added. “We remove them from the system; once word gets around, the referral and the person himself cannot bet anywhere in the country.” Bookies see all kinds of people placing bets. “The difference is that a salaried person would make much noise after he wins Rs 10,000 or loses it in a match. However the rich will maintain a poker face even if they win or lose Rs 10 crore,” Jani confided. He added that the common figure that is bet around the country ranges from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000.
Profits for bookies
The bookie gets his profit from those who lost their money placing the bets. Makhija added that the number of people employed in his profession easily runs in to lakhs.
In Kandivali (a small area in Mumbai’s western suburbs) there are more than 5,000 bookies.
Arrests in the circle
In May 2012, the police arrested two bookies from Kandivali. Devendra Kothari and Sonu Malad were caught accepting bets between a Kings XI Punjab and Chennai Super Kings match.
Kothari and Sonu Jalan alias Sonu Malad’s interrogation helped the police arrest Mohammad Feroz Farid Ansari alias Todki (38), an alleged member of the Chotta Shakeel gang. Like Kalachowki, even Kothari is suspected to have been involved in match fixing too. Kothari and Jalan have been arrested in the past, but after coming out on bail, they have resumed their business. Jalan was let out on bail just a few days before he was arrested in May 2012 in another betting case.
How odds works
All kinds of betting work on the system of odds. Say for instance for Friday’s match between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals, the going rate was 76 for Mumbai and 1.25 for Rajasthan Royals.
So if you had bet Rs 1,000 on Mumbai Indians and if the team won (which it did), then you would get Rs 1,000 back plus make a profit of Rs 760.
If you had bet on Mumbai and Rajasthan won instead, then you would end up losing Rs 1,000. However, on the same hand if you had bet on Rajasthan at 1.25 and if Rajasthan Royals won, then you would have made Rs 1,250. (Rs 1,000 the money invested and Rs 250 as profit).
The odds will always be stacked against weaker team, (in this case, it was Mumbai Indians), and correspondingly since there are higher risks associated with putting money on a weaker team the returns are also much higher.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved. (TAG: CYCSPL)