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Luring netizens to a bettor life

india Updated: May 17, 2013 02:23 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Royal Calcutta Turf Club


Big stakes or not, you will always find the Royal Calcutta Turf Club here teeming with people armed with small booklets that they almost clutch to their hearts. In the book is information on racehorses, their pedigree, a history of their performance, that of the jockey, information about the trainer and finally the odds for or against the horse. It’s the punter’s bible.

International betting websites are now creating the most comprehensive fora on these lines. Take the case of the Indian domestic Twenty20 league. Every renowned website provides a detailed preview and a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) analysis of players and teams.

Named ‘markets’, these are different conditions of the match on which users registered from any part of the world can place bets. The ‘markets’ range from total run-outs to the total boundaries hit by a particular batsman or any one team in a match. You can also place bets on whether the first ball of the innings would be a no-ball. The stakes for that are among the highest.

According to, India has the third largest number of internet users (13.7 crore or 11.4% of the population) after China and the USA. Maybe that explains the spurt in interest in on-line gambling. The websites also do their bit to assure their users that the Indian legal system isn’t well equipped enough to track online gamblers since no particular law exists preventing it.

There is the Public Gaming Act of 1867 that makes gambling in India illegal. But finds out a loophole in the Act which says that ‘nothing in this Act shall apply to games of mere skill where played’, meaning in absence of other laws against them, wagering on games of skill is legal. This makes a compelling point for first-timers willing to try out their luck.