Wallets Grew Lighter as Hope Stayed Alive Till the Very End
India’s loss to West Indies in the semifinals of the Twenty20 world cup didn’t just break hearts, it also lightened a lot of wallets. Those who wagered money on India’s players doing much better than they actually did at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Thursday night suffered much the samefateasMSDhoniandhisnownotso-jolly band of cricketers.
Post-match interviews with punters and bookies in India’s wholly unofficial betting market revealed that women now form a significant proportion of those placing bets. While they are less prone to wild wagers, this time they lost big as expectations of an India win had been as firm as Rahul Dravid’s wall it would seem. As tohowmuchbettingmoneywasriding onthewholetournament—theexperts suggested a ballpark figure of ₹ 30,000 crore. Individual bets can start at ₹ 5,000-10,000, rising to ₹ 25 lakh to ₹ 50 lakh. Since such gambling is illegal in India, all figures are unverifiable.
WhileboththeWestIndiesand Englandaregivensimilarodds for the final on Sunday at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, bookies don’t expect too many people to place bets. The price being offered is 97 paise on both—that’s how much a Re 1 bet would pay out in the event of a win.
There are various types of bets, complete with intriguing tags like ‘lambi baari’ and ‘up-down.’ The plainest variety is the one on which team will win. Then there’s spot betting, which iswhatconvulsedtheIndianPremier League and led to two teams being scrapped last year.
Lambibaarireferstosuchbetsmade on how many runs will be made in an over or overs. Up-down refers to how many runs a batsman scores off a ball ormore.Spotbetscanbeonhowmuch a team will score, what this will be after a particular number of overs, how aballwillbeplayedandsoon.TheIPL scandal related to the rigging of such bets, or spot fixing.
Most women make spot bets and bet smallamounts,accordingtoabookie. It should, however, be pointed out that size is relative—small in this casemeansaminimumaggregateof ₹ 1lakh,accordingtothe Mumbai-based bookie.
“I have about 25 women clients and most of them tend to bet on the session of the game (spot betting) rather than the outcomeofthematch,”hesaid.
Bookies agree that the number of women betting has gone up, especially in Twenty20 games.
“I would say that about 10 to 15% of mytotalclientswouldbewomen,”said anAhmedabad-basedbookie.Mostare introduced by husbands, brothers or friends.
According to a Mumbai-based bookie, about ₹ 2,500 crore was wagered on theIndia-WestIndiesmatch,mostofit on spot bets. Some threw good money after bad as the match progressed.
“Around ₹ 1,500 crore bets were lost, many of them on lambi baari and updown. Even though many people lost bets in the first five overs, they kept putting in more money, hoping they would recover, but India lost,” said the bookie.
It is estimated that of the total bets, around ₹ 200crorewaslostinspotbets placed in Mumbai. When the match started, anyone betting on India winning would get ₹ 148 on every ₹ 100 bet. Most people had put their money on India crossing 200 (the team scored only 192).
When the hard-hitting Chris Gayle got out in the initial overs, the odds shortened--India went to ₹ 126 per Re 100. By the 10th over of the West Indies innings, it was ₹ 115 paise per Re 100 in India’s favour with very few punters now expecting an upset. That optimism was alive in the 15th over too,withmanywageringthattheWest Indies would not cross 188.
Amongtheotherbetsthatwentawry were the West Indies getting all out (it made a winning score of 196 for 3), making less than 150 runs, getting all out before 20 overs, said Ahmedabadbased bookie, adding, “Many people also laid bets in the last over on India.” Unfortunately for them and millions of Indian cricket fans, Andre Russell hit a six to win the match off the fourth ball of the last over.
Women now form a significant proportion of those placing bets though they are less prone to wild wagers