With cricket fever gripping the world, the underworld is upbeat, perhaps even more than the cricket enthusiasts, as they are gearing up to make a killing virtually through betting on the World Cup event slated to be held across three countries in the Asian continent. And Goa is one destination where the bookies have decided to camp owing to the current risks in Mumbai. Highly placed sources have revealed that some prominent bookies will be camping at some of the Casinos in Goa.
Rough estimate from informed sources in the betting circles suggest that the 49 World Cup matches to be played in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would generate a turnover of around Rs 1.47 lakh crore. The betting turnover looks impressive next only to Rs 1.76 lakh crore, the presumptive loss to the government from 2G spectrum sale as per the CAG report.
Sources aver that the turnover from the 18 group elimination matches are estimated between Rs 1,500 crore and Rs 2,000 crore per each match, while the stakes could be higher for the quarter-final matches anywhere between Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore.
And for the semis, the betting turnover may spurt to around Rs 4,000 crore and the stake could even be higher at Rs 5,000 crore, especially India reaches the finals.
Most of the top bookies and their punters have shifted base to plush farmhouses on the outskirts of the city in search of a safe haven, say insiders. Some have even moved to Surat and some are camping at casinos in Goa, they say. A punter said, “We find it safer to operate from outside Mumbai as the police will turn the heat on the bookies when the World Cup starts. Most law enforcement agencies are equipped with a phone tracking system, making us vulnerable to arrests.”
Needless to say, the whopping money involved in cricket betting has attracted the attention of the underworld. Some of the key players are members of the Dawood Ibrahim and Santosh Shetty gangs, operating from South East Asia.
“We are keeping tabs on bookies suspected to be working for the underworld. The recovery of 10 SIM cards from Dubai service providers points to bookies are keeping in touch with their counterparts in the Gulf,” said Jt Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy.