Mumbai: As the interrogation of arrested actor Vindoo Dara Singh reveals heavy betting in the Indian Premier League, the question is as to how exactly does betting in cricket work. It is much like any other business but for a few fascinating exceptions.
The cricket world in a fix over the spot-fixing storm. Along with the stellar success of the IPL, betting too has flourished into a multi-million dollar syndicate, so much so, that during an IPL season bookies now operate hundreds of well organised telephone betting exchanges across the country.
A betting telephone exchange consists of as many as 400 to 500 phone lines of punters connected on a conference call and linked to the Live commentary audio from the stadium. This live audio is at least a ball ahead of the TV broadcast. Bets are then taken by bookies on a ball-by-ball basis on almost every aspect of the match in progress.
One can bet starting from who will win the toss, modes of dismissal of batsmen, total score in a session and the list goes on. Spot-fixing, for example, is how many runs a bowler will give in an over, as alleged by the Delhi Police in case of Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan.
Bets are even placed on something as bizarre as whether the flood lights will go off during a match, how many players will be wearing sun glasses or whether a dog will be seen running on the field.
The IPL after-match parties are utilised by the bookies to get close to the players and even lure them. Also, the bookies say, the strategic timeout during a match works to their advantage.
UK's betting website, betfair and latest applications on Androids and iPhones are now being used and co-ordination takes place through Voice Over Internet Protocol to evade the police net.
The IPL betting bomb shell has also brought back into focuss the Mumbai underworld, especially India's most wanted, Dawood Ibrahim. It's his D-gang that rules this massive syndicate. Sources indicate that players even get threatened if they don't toe the bookies' lines.
- Dawood's brother Anees handles betting operations, with Mumbai being the betting capital of India.
- Gujarat, Rajasthan are the other strong holds of bookies, with Goa being the latest favourite.
- The D-gang uses its two-decade old network of hawala operators to transfer huge amounts of betting money.
- Some of the biggest bookies in Mumbai include Shobhan Mehta alias Kalachowkie, Kushal, who allegedly handles Bollywood clients, Sunil Abhichandani and Musa Paik.
In fact, the three bookies arrested last week by Mumbai Police were in touch with elements in Pakistan, underscoring the D-Gang's monopoly and the complicated nature of the web the investigators are up against.