The FIFA world cup is turning out to be a gold mine for bookies across the city. With bets worth Rs 800 crore to Rs 1,000 crore placed per game in the pre-quarter final stage, bookies have so far seen business of about Rs 50,000 crore — Rs 10,000 crore more than in the entire 2006 world cup season.
Total business is expected to cross Rs 60,000 crore this time around. “We have a lot more people betting on football this time, and some are betting big,” said one Mumbai bookie.
“Bets are not only coming from India, but huge amounts are also being placed by non-resident Indians based in the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Dubai.”
Now in the crucial knockout stage, the stakes are getting higher, and bookies are betting on Brazil to win. The considerably low odds on Brazil reflect this — Rs 2.5 for every rupee bet. By comparison, the country least expected to win — Paraguay — is getting odds of Rs 59 per rupee bet. This means if Brazil wins, a punter who placed a bet of Rs 2 on that country would win a total of Rs 5. In the unlikely event of Paraguay winning, meanwhile, a punter who bet Rs 2 would win Rs 118.
Surprisingly, bookies have placed Spain in the second-favourite position (at Rs 3 for every rupee bet), rather than Argentina, which follows with a rate of Rs 4.8 per rupee bet.
In the quarterfinals, Brazil, Spain, Argentina and Uruguay are favourites in their respective matches.
“Each match in the quarterfinals will get us bets worth Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 1,500 crore,” said one bookie. “In the semifinals, we expect about Rs 1,800 crore to Rs 2,000 crore in bets per match. The final will probably see business of over Rs 2,500 crore.”
Initially, bets will be placed for the first 90 minutes of each game.
“If it goes to overtime, the match will be considered a draw, regardless of the final outcome. Fresh bets will be accepted for the overtime results,” the bookie said. “So, in games that go into overtime, only those who bet on a draw will gain.”