By Shreelatha Nayak
Mangalore, 25 May 2012: The fifth edition of the Indian Premier League is half way through and is arousing much curiosity as as well as speculation, leaving cricket fans on the edge of their seats. It has also turned out to be a a time when bookies are having a field day making hay while the sun shines. Dakshina Kannada too is no exception. IPL betting is in full swing in every nook and corner of the city and elsewhere, with the young and the old and sometimes even children getting addicted to this betting business.
A couple of arrests have been made in the city of Mangalore, four in Manipal and three in Vittal,they are just the tip of the iceberg as the kingpins of this racket are carrying out this illegal business fearlessly.
According to Mangalore Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh the IPL betting amount this season may reach as much as Rs 15 crore. The betting amount for each match ranged from Rs 75 lakh to Rs one crore, he adds. He also states that black money holders are the backbone of this racket which has umpteen bookies and promises that the department will leave no stone unturned in zeroing in on the betting racketeers.
Reports even suggested that betting was way out of control in various parts of the city including MG road, Urvastores, Ekkur and other places recently and that a man from the Bunt community was in full control of this betting racket from Mumbai. Although there was a time when betting was considered a game of the rich, it is no longer so as even the poorer classes are easily attracted towards this illegal activity. There is also a rumour that bookies who were earlier in Bangalore have shifted bases to Mangalore and some other cities, considering them safe havens.
According to some other reports, several bookies have moved out of the city, while those in the city are groups engaged in collecting the betting amount and distributing the same. A punter even says that the police are fully aware of the location of the betting dens, which however are raided only when they do not get their share of the booty.
One of city’s bookies even says that betting has become very simple these days as it could be carried out from just anywhere. With the advent of modern technology, he feels betting has become more risk free as it could be conducted right from home along with a couple of mobile phones or the Internet, he adds. Cricket betting is making waves online. This year it is all set to cross Rs 75,000 crore. Last year, it is said bookies did a business of Rs 50,000 crore.
There are a lot of online websites and closed communities on social networking sites which deal with real money. On paper, during registrations, they pose as just gamers involved in gambling.
The city police too are now waking up to the new trend of making transactions online by escaping the eyes of the cops. They are now planning to hire more cyber security experts to deal with such online cases immediately. The department could also track down the telephone number of one of the wanted man and was able to make an arrest recently.
The betting craze of youngsters is also leading to drastic consequences. The recent case wherein the body of a youth was found on the railway track at Kubevoor near Mulki, is said to be a suicide after the youth possibly lost substantial amount due to betting.
The controversial SMS game which was also introduced during this season was eventually withdrawn by the organizers after taking note of the criticisms by several including former cricketers.
However, no one could stop these bookies from inducing even children to get into IPL Ggambling. The alarming aspect is that several school going children too are into this betting racket without the knowledge of their parents. This is something very serious and the authorities need to crack down the IPL betting racket in the district at the earliest.