Delhi

Who will win the Cup? Not India, say bookies

India’s chances of retaining the Cricket World Cup are slim, claim some Delhi-based associates of an international betting syndicate, adding that Australia is swiftly emerging as the clear favourite for bookmakers.

Meanwhile, substantial wagers are being made on World Cup matches across the Capital under the very nose of the Delhi Police on a daily basis with one of its elite units, the Crime Branch, too busy assisting its local counterparts in confronting street crime.

“Fresh rates for the World Cup winner were received on Monday morning; Australia is the favourite to win followed by South Africa, New Zealand, and then India. The tide was in India’s favour initially, but shifted after South Africa defeated Sri Lanka,” a punter, technically defined as a person serving as a link between bookmakers and gamblers, told The Hindu .

International betting rates are understood to originate from Dubai and a handful of locations in the Middle East before being transmitted globally to punters through improvised, ISD-enabled landline phones known as dabbas (boxes) in common parlance. Punters then offer these rates, usually in person, to gamblers.

Subject to change with each result, a bet once placed cannot be cancelled though a gambler can place more than one bet even if it is diametrically opposite the wager which he or she had originally made.

Sustained campaigns against cricket-related betting, which was spearheaded by the Crime Branch, had driven both punters and gamblers beyond the Delhi border in recent years forcing them to accept and place bets in improvised vehicles lounging on national highways such as the Yamuna Expressway to escape interception and subsequent arrest. But things are markedly different this World Cup.

“Bets are flowing in without much apprehension this time because there isn’t much pressure from the police; we have gone back to taking bets at static facilities located in residential areas, farmhouses and, some times, small hotel rooms instead of on the go,” another punter said.

The sole arrest the police were able to make pertaining to the crime this year was that of a 57-year-old businessman who was allegedly relaying ball-by-ball betting rates to interested gamblers from his residence in West Delhi’s Paschim Vihar.

According to those associated with such rinks, however, areas such as Rohini, Pitampura, Laxmi Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Chandni Chowk and Model Town were crawling with improvised setups playing their role in a global betting racket the estimated worth of which, as a business enterprise, was more than difficult to evaluate.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:21:37 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/who-will-win-the-cup-not-india-say-bookies/article7026017.ece

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