IPL big hit with gamblers, Kolkata team current favouriteApril 26th, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by admin
By Quaid Najmi
Mumbai, April 26 (IANS) The Indian Premier League (IPL) is only into its second week but has already become a big hit with gamblers, leaving betting on other major events far behind. The police here estimated the amount changing hands in the first week at a whopping Rs.2,000 billion.
A police official said this is at least 20 times higher than the betting money in the last cricket World Cup in the West Indies.
The reasons attributed to this quicker turnover for punters are the glamour involved, big money at stake, and shorter match durations producing faster results. Added to it is the tremendous public response to the IPL matches around the country. At some of the stadiums, corporate boxes have been sold out and in some places like Mumbai, general tickets were sold in black.
“There is a strong hype surrounding the IPL, the summer vacations are on and matches are being marketed well in all cities,” said a Mumbai bookie, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In order to ward off police and the private security agencies deployed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), bookies are operating with extreme caution. The underworld is reported to be active in the gambling operations in a big way.
“We accept bets only online, through certain websites. Punters are provided with passwords which are kept confidential and we keep changing them for every match,” the bookie said.
The current hot favourites are Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai - in that order. While Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders commands a price of Rs.4.50, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi teams follow a close second with Rs.5.00. The next on the list are Hyderabad at Rs.6 and Mohali at Rs.7.
This means that for every Rs.1 that is bet on any particular team, the punter would get the current rate being quoted for that team. So, if Kolkata wins the match, the punter would make Rs.4.50 on his bet of Rs.1.
Though both Mumbai and Hyderabad are yet to win a match they are rated higher than Bangalore, which has won a match. Bangalore is pegged at Rs.11, followed by the Jaipur team at Rs.14. The odds are higher against their winning.
The favourite players are Michsel Hussey, Brendon McCullum, Robin Uthappa and Abhishekh Nair.
The bookie revealed that when several international players from Australia, West Indies and New Zealand leave the IPL to fulfil commitments back home next month, betting trends might undergo a major change after assessing the teams’ strengths afresh.
So far, the average per match betting is in the region of Rs.50-100 billion, depending on the team and its players.
The money collection and disbursal is done through ‘angadia’ (unorganised couriers) and by ‘hawala’ (money laundering racket).
The Mumbai Police Cyber Crime Cell is keeping a close tab on the developments on the betting front, an official said, but they have not reported any breakthrough in penetrating the ring.