Scale of illegal betting during IPL revealed

It’s not unusual to hear news about bookies operating in the black market in India being discovered by the police, and the IPL is one of the most lucrative leagues for this business. After a number of arrests were made throughout the 2018 season for illegal betting, police have revealed just how significant the sums of money being passed around are.

Salud Jalan is one of the major players in the black market betting industry in India, and he was arrested on May 29 of this year. His diary has since been seized by the AEC, and as a result the extent of transactions have been made clear. Jalan alone recorded transactions totalling a little under USD$90 million during this season’s IPL alone.

It’s incredible to think that this number refers to only Jalan’s transactions, and only those that occurred during the 2018 IPL season. The mind boggles to think how much money is involved in the industry across all cricket leagues throughout the year.

The AEC provided some further information detailing the significance of the industry. Jalan, who is based in Mumbai, is one of the biggest players in the market in the country, but he is joined by 50 to 60 other bookies of various sizes in Mumbai alone. The huge amount of money recorded in Jalan’s transactions make up around only 10% of the total transactions made in Mumbai alone during this year’s IPL, meaning just under USD$900 million was moved in a single city during a single tournament this year.

According to the AEC, a majority of the clients are big businessmen and Bollywood celebrities. They will allegedly be summoned for questioning in the near future. 

The AEC have a significant amount of information surrounding the ins and outs of the business. Punters are paid out in cash form, and generally received their winnings the day after the match. Unsurprisingly, it’s the shortest form of the game which has attracted the most attention from punters, with the extremely popular and high-quality IPL a prime option for many betters. In contrast, ODI’s, particularly those which didn’t include India, were the least popular. Probably unsurprisingly, this trend appears to follow relatively closely the general feeling among cricket fans, with the more fast-paced T20 game generating far more interest than the more traditional 50-over form.

Though there have been some suggestions that cricket betting won’t remain illegal in India forever, for the time being it remains an industry on the black market. The suggestions are that the authorities are relatively on top of the undercover activity, and this case serves as a reminder of the risks of illegal betting.