Bucks on the roll

With World Cup on, the city punters are burning midnight oil placing bets on winners, writes Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2006 13:52 IST

With every kick on a German football ground, some people in the city are rushing to consult their books. Yeah, we are referring to the bookies who are working overtime with the world’s greatest sports show on a roll.

It’s the day of the khaiwali-- a bookie in popular lingo where punting is known as khaiwal. And things have got better for the khaiwalis with “most city pubs screening live matches,” according to a businessman who doesn’t want to be named.

Class no bar

Betting on soccer is no longer the preserve of the wellheeled football savvy crowd as people from all walks of life are placing their money on their favourites, either among st friends and family, or more professionally, through bookies.

Says a bookie, “Each bookie is holding about Rs 2-3 crores daily and there are about 30-40 bookies in the city. The amount of money that changes hands is about Rs 60 crores to 80 crores in a single day for football alone and there’s betting on for cricket too.”

That’s a whopping figure indeed.

The favourites

Brazil is clearly the favourite with the punters. The bet is not on how Brazil will fare on the field, but how many goals will the team score before half time.

In India, the approximate odds on teams are — Brazil 1.75, Germany 5, Argentina 5, France 7. (For instance, if you are betting Rs 100 on Brazil, you are likely to make Rs 175 over the sum as it’s one of the favourites.

The rates increase for the underdogs as their chances of winning are low). Amongst the players, Ronaldinho is a hot favourite and has a higher exchange rate over Ronaldo. Beckham is coming up as the second favourite.

We still breathe cricket

In cricket crazy India, soccer mania is after all, ephemeral. So, the unadventurous cousins of punters are still betting on the willow and the cherry.

India is the favourite to win against the West Indies. The chances are 60/40 in favour of India. With the fall of every wicket the rates on India keep slipping down. However a draw is pegged at Rs 2.

So what if we love our cricketers, we can still make money out of soccer!

First Published: Jun 15, 2006 13:52 IST