Sunday, June 30, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Crores betted on World Cup final
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, June 29
Crores have been staked on the out- come of tomorrow’s World Cup football final, which has led to an increase in betting activity in the region. Local “satta” operators, have been doing good business, are using innovative ways and coded language to conduct their transactions. E-mails, cellular phones and the SMS facility offered by the Internet are some of the new tools being used by punters.

According to rough estimates, the punters have put crores at stake on tomorrow’s match between Brazil and Germany. Some of them are offering prices ranging from Rs 10 to Rs 100. For example, they offer a price multiplied by 10 times to 100 times the amount paid if the favourite team loses. Not only the final outcome of the match but also the number of goals to be scored by star players are being betted on. Brazil’s Rivaldo and Ronaldo and Germany’s Miroslav Klose are among the hot favourites.

Information gathered by TNS revealed that most of the college students and other sports enthusiasts were betting on the outcome of the match. The recently held Punjab Assembly elections also saw many people making a fast buck by predicting the fate of various contestants.

Traders, housewives and even teenagers have put money at stake. Tomorrow’s match would be witnessing greater betting as compared to other sports events held recently, observed a bookie who has been in this business for the past few years. Interest in the football World Cup, being held for the first time in Asia, has increased due to the extensive coverage on TV and in the print media.

The betting fever has affected a large section of the population of the Malwa region. Even ruralites have not been able to escape it. The “master bookies” have engaged “sub-bookies” in large numbers to boost their business. More bets will be placed as the match progresses.

Besides sports matches and elections, people in the region have even started betting on the possibility of an Indo-Pakistan war.

Although the district police has not unearthed any “satta” or betting racket connected to the World Cup football so far, they have been keeping vigil on the activities of suspects.

Vimal Sumbly adds from Ludhiana: Local bookies are preparing for the big final, with stakes being heavily in favour of Brazil. Sources in betting circles revealed that the stakes were high at 1:5 in favour of Brazil, while Germany had been rated quite low. In the city, the soccer World Cup reportedly generated crores in betting. Thousands of punters lost huge sums as there were a number of unexpected results. The sources said all those who lost money during the tournament were pinning hopes on the final.

While Brazil has been rated at 40 paise per rupee, Germany has been placed at Rs 5. If one bets Re 1 on Brazil, he will get only 40 paise extra in return if Brazil wins. If anybody places the same amount for Germany, he will get Rs 5 extra for each rupee. The bookies are learnt to have also fixed Rs 3 for a draw. Although there has to be a definite result in tomorrow’s game, for betting purposes, if no team scores a goal in the stipulated time, the game is deemed to be draw. In case anyone bets Re 1 for the draw, he will get Rs 3 extra in return.

Besides Ludhiana and Bathinda, other prominent betting centres in the region are in Jammu, Jalandhar, Patiala, Chandigarh, Ferozepore, Hisar, Hansi and Sirsa.

Ravi Dhaliwal adds from Patiala: Bets running into lakhs have been placed in favour of a Brazil victory in tomorrow’s World Cup final.

A local bookie, who made a fortune during the 1999 cricket World Cup, said stakes on Brazil winning the final were enormous. Other small-time bookies, all of whom work on the sly, admit that Brazil is the hot favourite among local residents. A senior police officer, preferring anonymity, said the police was on the lookout for these bookies.

If Brazil wins, many bookies stand to lose their shirts. However, they will make a fortune if the Germans upset the Brazilian apple cart.

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