As part of my ongoing series on India’s love for cricket, for the 2nd part of this analysis, I’d like to document my views of the cricket gaming industry.
My travel experience in India made me realize the die-hard love Indians have for Cricket. To some, cricket might just be another sport but if you live in India or have ever visited India, you know for certain that it is not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.
The dhols and bands played after team India wins and the mourns that are observed if there is loss made me feel the significance of Cricket in the everyday lives of Indians. In the countless homestays I’ve done, playing cricket and scoring some runs for your team would make the whole Sunday better for Indian kids and families.
One can surely say that though cricket is invented by English people it has been ruled by the Indians. It has become the most profitable sport in India.
India has produced so many legends that have created so many world records that they are pretty hard to beat. No matter which country you are from, if you love cricket, there is a high chance that you idolize an cricket Indian legend. As an example of the audacity and impact of cricket in India, when Sachin Tendulkar was in his prime and he didn’t score good runs in a match, it would cause the stock market to crash. Whenever there is a match between India and Pakistan a billion people would tune in to watch the match.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has a valuation of almost $2 billion which is the most valued cricket board of any country by far. The closest cricket board in terms of valuation is Cricket South Africa, which is worth around $79 million.
As an avid gamer myself, and having been in the casino industry for decades, I would like to do a deep dive into cricket exchanges. One of the best Indian cricket exchanges that I’ve used is Sona9. Granted I haven’t used them a lot (I’ve only used them for the purposes of research for this blog).
Cricket Exchange is a fancy word and a sophisticated phrase commonly known as ‘Satta’. Even though it remains illegal in most of the parts of the country, it remains one of the largest industries in India.
At every nukkads and corner of any city in the country, you would find people gambling at tea stalls and bars. There are satta-specific bazaars in some cities too.
Cricket is the most betted on sport in India. The availability of betting options is endless. Countless permutations exist. From betting on the winning team, to betting on an individual’s score, to which side will play how many overs, to what the final score of both teams will be, and many more.
The most common bet that people make is as straightforward as it gets; betting on one of the three outcomes, either a home team win, loss or draw.
Take a guess as to how much is being better yearly and I’d wager you probably underestimated it.
The illegal betting market in India is worth a whopping $150 billion! Yes, you read that right! The average one day International match alone sees $200 million worth of betting.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry suggested the government legalize betting, and by doing that the government would earn around Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 12,000 crores every single year.
If you wanted to bet on Cricket as a newcomer, you’d probably have to use a cricket exchange as bookies won’t take (physical) bets from unknown people. You’d need to bet with a referee that has an existing relationship with a bookie. The referee would be apportioned a certain amount and the rest would be in hands of bookies.
Though Cricket betting for the most part I think is a healthy form of entertainment, there is something to be said about the dark side of it. It is not uncommon to hear of people in India that are willing to bet huge amounts, sometimes their life savings, in hopes of their favourite team winning. Many livelihoods are affected by this sort of betting.
I am not for nor against the existence or legalisation of cricket betting in India. To each their own. For a person like me who loves numerical proficiency and analysis, it is always a fun task to analyze how the match is going to end!