WC betting gangs mint crores while TS cops go about seizing unaccounted poll money

Hyderabad: Even as Telangana police are busy cracking the whip on those carrying unaccounted cash in the run up to the Assembly elections in the state, gangs involved in cricket betting are taking advantage of the diversion and carrying out illegal transactions unabated.

The poll notification and police shifting focus towards checking vehicles at various strategic locations have come as a blessing in disguise for the betting mafia to make hay during the ICC World Cup 2023 matches. Online betting organizers and syndicates and bookies even from the suburbs and interiors are going for the kill, said one Ganesh Singh, a regular from the city.

He pointed out that though lakhs of rupees were at stake during the matches hosted at RGICS here on October 6, 9 and 10, there were hardly any raids or arrests by the police. Betting amounts during the eagerly awaited India-Pakistan showdown will

run into crores, said an organiser, who runs a hugely patronised online betting unit and a food court in Secunderabad.

“I have earned over Rs 70 lakh on the India-Sri Lanka match here. I do not get involved directly with my sub-organizers but only maintain accounts and earn profits”, the food court owner said.

“As a matter of principle, we only cater to around 25 regular clients, who all are top businessmen spread across the state. We never encourage online betting apps. Ours is all about trust. If our customer loses on any given day, we lend money to the individual, who diligently returns the following day,” he said.

Scores of organizers operate from slums spread over every locality and lakhs of rupees are up for grabs. Betting organizers have trained women punters, who are given tickets and enter the stadium as spectators. They are very fast in operating mobile phones, so very essential to keep track of the match proceedings. It takes over two minutes for the live telecast and punters, who are already watching the match, play a critical role by simultaneously alerting their respective organizers and punters, reliable sources disclosed.

'I had placed Rs 50,000 on Pakistan batsman Mohammed Rizwan, who hit a century, and won a cool Rs five lakh within a few minutes," a punter said.

“We use code words like 'pakdo' (hold/pause), utharo (decline/ reduce), 'chodo' (leave), ‘chadado’ (increase stake) ‘duggi’ for doubling the stakes, which the common man cannot understand”, he said.

Digitalization and the lure of making a fast buck are attracting many people to cricket betting. However, at the end of the day, it is the bookie who laughs all the way to the bank while punters lose money.

The police have urged people to report any illegal betting they come across to them or on dial 100, a police officer said.

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