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With little sporting action, punters place bets on Covid cases

June 29, 2020 05:35 AM

courtest  HT JUNE 29

With little sporting action, punters place bets on Covid cases
Soumya Pillai

New Delhi : With all Indian sporting events suspended amid the public health crisis triggered by Covid-19, Delhi’s betting rings have found a new game to wager on – predictions of statistics linked to the pandemic.

While legal betting is limited to horse-racing in the country, syndicates run illicit betting markets, often called the “satta bazaar”.

The Delhi Public Gambling Act (1955), which is an offshoot of the old colonial statute Public Gambling Act (1867), bans public gambling and keeping of common gaming houses in Delhi.

Seven illegal bookmakers HT spoke to in Delhi-NCR said that since the outbreak forced sporting events to be put on hold, bets were now being placed on the dates and contours of the lockdown, the infection rate, the death toll, etc.

These bets are often placed through surreptitious phone calls.

“Initially, when the virus was still new, bets were being placed on when it would be eradicated. Then, money was being placed on lockdown dates, which had a longer validity. Daily bets also included the infection and death counts in different cities,” a 38-year-old bookie, who has been involved in the illicit gambling business for nearly a decade, said.

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