Tech helps cricket betting thrive, cops yet to catch up

Cricket betting is illegal in India but bettors just can’t do without it. The crime is now in full bloom thanks to advanced technology and the ongoing cricket world cup. And there’s little that police can do to stop it. 

There are several mobile phone applications that give you tips on cricket betting techniques. With the mouth-watering India-Pakistan match happening on Sunday, betting bids are set to soar by leaps and bounds. 

“It’s as easy as playing a game on your phone. Download a cricket betting app. You have to open an account with one or more online bookmakers and start placing bets with ‘friends’ whom you will come to know and trust eventually,” a bookie said on the condition of anonymity. 

CrickBetting, Betting Keeda are some of the cricket betting apps. There are also websites like bet365.com and betfair.com. 

These apps and websites give you direct access to the latest live odds from the bookmaker. One can place bets directly on the app and see the results, besides accessing the account for claiming the win, the bookie explained. 

Bettors agree that apps are faster than the bookmaker’s betting website. “The best part of mobile betting is in-play betting while watching a match on television at home or at a pub/sports bar or at the stadium. You can bet as you watch the match,” the bookie said. 

Police know that cricket betting is rampant in Bengaluru and that the money changing hands is humongous but there’s little that they can about it since all communications and transactions happen online. 

Bookies have outsmarted the police by communicating on WhatsApp and data calls. They have consciously shunned mobile phone calls that the police could track or tap.

Oral information is the only way that the police can use to crack down on betting. Only some tip-offs lead to raids on betting centres, arrests and the seizure of laptops and mobile phones. 

But when the police check the bettors’ mobile phones and laptops, they hit a dead end: all communication happens online. The cases fall through in courts because of weak evidence. For example, police find it hard to link the cash with the actual betting claims placed by the bettors/bookies. As a result, the suspects easily obtain bail and get back to their business. 

S Girish, DCP (Crime), said: “The Central government should ban these apps and websites. Regulation of all online content within the country could bring down online gambling.” 

Another senior police officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, advocated legalising cricket betting the way other countries have done or like horse racing in India. “The government could tax it and earn large sums of money,” he added. 

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