Cricket betting in the State, especially Hyderabad, is localised in nature though a few organisers have connections with high-level bookies across the country

Cricket bookies are not alien to cops and criminal circles in Hyderabad, but they are not financially strong enough and well-networked like their counterparts in metros like Mumbai to fix matches.

Cricket match betting in Andhra Pradesh – especially Hyderabad – is mostly localised in nature though a few organisers have connections with high-level bookies across the country, say police. Surely, the turnover of bookies in the State may run into crores of rupees depending on the popularity of the matches.

Busting cricket betting rackets has become a routine for police in the capital. They have developed a network of informants who keep their eyes and ears open whenever IPL and World Cup cricket carnivals are held. Still, the lure of money drives some people to start betting afresh. Even punters, longing to bet money on matches, police say, are driving some to begin betting rackets.

Bookies in Hyderabad are categorised into two: those organising bets on a match-to-match basis and others offering ‘fancy’ betting. In the first mode, bookies invite bets on the winning prospects of the two teams before the match begins.

If Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils are playing a match, bookies offer Rs. 200 on every Rs. 1,000 bet if the Mumbai Indians team wins and Rs. 2,000 for every Rs. 1,000 bet if Delhi Daredevils carry the day.

“The logic here is to offer less money on the possible victory of a strong team and more on not-so-strong team. Lured by double the sum of the bet money, many punters put their money on weak teams,” a police officer said.

The punters’ line of thinking is something like this: “You lose only Rs. 1,000 if the weak team is defeated but stand to gain double the amount if it wins.”

That is not all. The bookie keeps changing the amount offered as the match progresses. If the weak team scores 100 runs in the first 10 overs, he changes the sum and offers Rs. 200 for every Rs. 1,000.

This goes on till the match ends. Again, there is a twist. If a team is on the verge of victory, say it has to score 10 runs in the last two overs, he stops the betting.

“This he does because, the result of the match is almost clear, and no punter would like to waste his money by betting money against almost a clear result,” police say.

Fancy betting depends on the team that wins the toss. How many fours will be hit in the penultimate over? How many sixes in the last over? Can the bowler claim wicket for the first ball of his spell or the match? The list is endless depending on the teams and players involved and the interest of the punters.