Calls for gambling regulation in India are likely to gain momentum after the amount bet on Sachin Tendulkar making a century in the first test at Lords was estimated at 2bn rupees (£28m). India’s tour to England could see Tendulkar achieve the act of 100 international centuries and all eyes will be on the Little Master. The longer he goes without a century, the more Indians are likely to bet on him doing so.
Sports betting, except for on horses, is currently in illegal in India and done largely through a network of unlicensed telephone betting services. The result is that the government is missing out on many billions of rupees whilst they continue to adopt a prohibitive attitude to certain types of sports betting.
The figures for the amounts being wagered on India’s number one sport speak for themselves. A Reuters report estimated that one tournament – the Indian Premier League’s 59 matches – saw around 74bn rupees (£1bn) wagered by cricket-mad Indian punters.
India’s particular feverish attitude to Tendulkar’s attempts were summed up by one anonymous Delhi bookmaker, who told the Times of India, “The timing cannot become more right for Sachin to get his century. It’s a historic test. The match is being held at Lord’s – the mecca of cricket – and India is the current No 1 in both forms of the game.”
Whether the amount reportedly being bet will move India to adopt sports betting regulation remains to be seen. The nation’s obsession with both the “Little Master,” cricket and sports betting is plain to see though.