The re-emerging of match-fixing scandal may have shocked the cricket world, but bookies seem to be unfazed by this.
The first one-day between India and Sri Lanka, which was just a day after the scandal was unearthed, witnessed betting to the tune of close to Rs 300 crore (all India level) till the match stopped due to rain. All deals were subsequently cancelled. Bookies had otherwise expected the turnover to touch Rs 800 crore for the match. About 100 odd bookies from Mumbai were accepting bets.
Panic stuck for some time when on Thursday six Mumbai-based bookies were arrested from Lonavala while they were accepting bets on the match. Besides, five local bookies were arrested in Nagpur.
"Some Mumbai bookies who were operating from neighbouring areas stopped accepting bets for some time," said a city bookie adding that other outstation bookies continued with the business. He further said that the community had decided to continue with the betting, had the match started again.
Another Mumbai bookie said that when the match began India was favourite to win with 60 paise per rupee bet quoted for its victory. Sri Lanka's win was quoted at Rs 1.5. "However, odds turned in favour of Sri Lanka when they started to bat with a huge average," the bookie said adding that the visiting team's victory then was quoted at 82 paise per rupee bet as against Rs 1.15 of India. But the host (India) again became favourites with 60 paise per rupee bet when Sri Lanka lost three wickets. Sri Lanka's win at this stage was quoted at Rs 1.5.
"The scandal won't have much affect on our business, only we would be more careful," the bookie said.
He added that Mumbai bookies who are for the last few years operating from neighbouring areas like Navi Mumbai, Thane, Lonavala, Khandala, would now shift to Gujarat for further matches as police in entire Maharashtra have now become alert. "But those who are mobile (who accepts bet while travelling on highways) would continue to do so," the bookie said.
About match fixing, yet another bookie said that things have changed since 2000 when the last scandal was unearthed. "Earlier the match fixers preferred to involve captains of the teams as it was then easy to control the entire side and match," the bookie said adding that now they try to get mid level players. "Because now it's not so easy to involve any player," the bookie said.
About the information the match fixers try to have, the bookie said, are like the players who would play; batting and bowling orders; what would be the decision if the team wins the toss and what would be other match strategy. "They also try to get information on the condition of the pitch and this is done through other sources and not players," the bookie said. All these also help in opening rates for matches, if not for match fixing, he added.