Bookies still give Manmohan edge, but just about

July 22nd, 2008 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi/Raipur, July 22 (IANS) Three-odd hours before the scheduled trust vote in parliament Tuesday, bookies here were giving the government Rs.1.12 and the opposition Rs.1.16. That meant if the government won, a punter gambling Re.1 on this outcome would make 12 paise, while he would make 16 paise if he backed the opposition and the government fell. “We are offering 12 paise on Re.1 for a win by the government and 16 paise for a defeat,” a Delhi-based book maker told IANS here Tuesday. The bookie refused to be identified as betting is illegal in the country.

These latest odds represent a sharp evening out of the original odds that the book makers were offering ever since it was announced that the trust vote would be held on July 22.

Originally bookies were offering 40 paise to the rupee on a win by the government and as much as Rs.2.50 to Rs.2.90 to the rupee for a government defeat. By last Friday, these odds further shortened to just 38 paise for a government win while the odds on a government defeat remained as high as before.

By Sunday these odds had further shortened to a mere 23 paise for a government win although the odds for a government defeat remained the same. This meant as D-Day was nearing bookies were getting more and more convinced that the government would survive the trust vote.

But Monday saw an interesting development. The odds on a government defeat which had remained consistently high till then came down sharply. “It’s almost evens-stevens now as we are offering 23 paise on the rupee for a government win and 25 paise on a government defeat,” Akib Bhai, a leading book maker based in Chhattisgarh capital Raipur had told IANS Monday.

“With media reports about MPs switching over from one side to another, the bookies are confused and they are finding it difficult to take a call on the betting. Some 52 percent of a total of about 92,000 bookies believe that the Manmohan Singh government have the edge while the rest 48 percent believe the government will lose,” Akib Bhai said.

Akib along with Raja and Asim, credited as big bulls or satta kings, command the western and central India betting market and have a chain of about 18,000 collection centres.

While estimates about the total volume of betting on this event varied, the Delhi-based bookie told IANS that “betting volumes have crossed Rs.20 billion on a national level including the amounts placed on bets in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other metros.”

While this could not be confirmed, Akib Bhai said “the betting volume in central and western India centres known to us has already crossed Rs.5 billion,” which seemed to be in line with the estimate for the national level. The bookies expect the total volume to go up to beyond Rs.30 billion by the time voting actually begins.

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