In what may be an irrecoverable injury, Cricket punters have been dealt a devastating blow by India’s loss to New Zealand in the World Cup semifinals yesterday. The Satta bazaar bled millions of rupees as they placed their bets on India, with reports suggesting the losses faced by the punters may have reached one billion rupees, when New Zealand bounced back and won the match.
Sports and ‘satta’ market go together in India as well as in other countries. Cricket being favourite sport in the country has always been the biggest bet for satta market players. The satta players bet big in India vs New Zealand World Cup semifinal match yesterday and India was obviously the favourite team with more than 90 per cent of the punters betting their money on the Indian cricket team.
According to a report, the rate for their favourite, India was 4.35 rupees while for NZ, it was as high as 49 rupees. New Zealand came out as the underdog when the punters’ less favourite Kiwis won the match. Yesterday was indeed a ‘black day’ for Indian betters as they lost more than 100 crore rupees.
The punters booked hotel rooms for late night parties as they were sure to earn huge returns. The dismal performance by New Zealand’s batting order strengthened their hopes. After the New Zealand cricket team put forth a target of only 240 runs for India to win, which was very low given the usual strength of India’s batting lineup and opening order, the punters expected to make huge gains out of this game by betting on India.
Rajveer Singh, a punter who made 10 crore rupees from last match lost the money in the New Zealand game. The last hopes were placed on Dhoni-Jadeja partnership but the Kiwis made a devastating comeback in last two overs. The run out of Mahendra Singh Dhoni ended India’s hopes in the game shattering the hearts of not only devout Indian cricket fans but also the punters in the cricket betting market. “Even in session-to-session bidding, punters lost huge amounts as they had placed bets on Dhoni-Jadeja partnership which was in top form during the last session,” said a punter.
As per the police, the bids in Delhi NCR crossed 150 crore rupees and the Ghaziabad’s trading mandi known for satta virtually crashed. Besides the result of the match, bets were placed on whether Indian skipper Virat Kohli, his deputy Rohit Sharma, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill would be able to score centuries, that is over a hundred runs; whether the runs scored by any team could be 400 plus, and whether India’s bowlers Jasprit Bumrah or Yuzvendra Chahal and New Zealand’s Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson could take three or more wickets.
Last year, The Law Commission of India recommended the legalisation of gambling and sports betting in its report titled “Legal Framework: Gambling and Sports Betting including Cricket in India”. The commission chaired by Justice B S Chauhan states “Parliament may also enact a model law for regulating gambling that may be adopted by the states or in the alternative, Parliament may legislate in the exercise of its powers under Articles 249 or 252 of the Constitution. In case legislation is made under Article 252, states other than the consenting states will be free to adopt the same.”
According to the report, there should be strict regulations such as linking Aadhar or PAN card of the people involved in betting and gambling, as well as cashless transactions to prevent illegal activities such as money laundering. This will help the government to generate tax revenues and curb black money transactions involved in sports betting especially Cricket betting which is the most prevalent in India.
In a 2013 report, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) estimated that the underground betting market in India is huge at Rs 3,00,000 crore. Gambling and betting are currently allowed with restrictions in Goa, Daman, and Sikkim.
If the ministry accepts the recommendations of the report and passes a corresponding law on it, it will go down as one of the biggest reforms in the sports industry of India. Since independence, there have been no effective efforts by the government to regulate the sports and gambling industry in the country. If the government regulates the industry, it can ensure free and fair competition as well as earn massive tax revenues and as for the satta bazaar which is ailing awfully after losing a staggering 100 crore rupees after India’s loss, it would be a great lesson to consider that gambling really never does anyone any good in the long run.