Cricket is a popular sport all over the world, but there is nowhere that shares the same passion for the sport as India. Cast your mind back to that famous night in 2011, when MS Dhoni smacked it for six to clinch India’s second World Cup title, and remember the iconic scenes afterward firecrackers and ecstatic screaming in villages and cities across the country.
India’s pride in its national sport has been cemented by the continued success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the most popular cricket league in the world. It was only introduced in 2008, but there’s nothing quite like it in terms of T20 cricket.
That in itself is part of cricket’s massive appeal to gamblers; there’s something for everybody. The addition of T20 games from 2003 onwards means fans have been offered something new; cricket at breakneck speed, relative to traditional test cricket which can last up to five days.
Discover the black market of cricket betting
India and cricket are tied at hip – and the fans wouldn’t have it any other way. But isn’t betting on cricket in India illegal?
Kind of, but not really. Gambling is a grey area in India. For example, a legal ruling in 1996 means that is it legal to bet on horse racing in India – but the same cannot be said for all sports. Nonetheless, the desire to bet on cricket is just as strong in India as it is elsewhere, which has led to a thriving black market of cricket bookies.
On the face of it, sports betting is frowned upon in India. But scratch beneath the surface and there are clearly a lot of punters involved; underground sports betting in India is estimated at anywhere from US$45 billion – US$150 billion. The nature of black market bets makes it extremely tough to nail down a concrete figure, but the appetite is clearly there.
Of these bets, a huge amount is placed of one-day international cricket matches featuring the Men in Blue – think US$190 million per game as a ballpark.
Online cricket betting a popular option
Naturally, not every fan fancies wandering under local bridges asking if anybody’s taking wagers on the cricket. This perhaps explains why betting online on cricket matches in India is so popular. It’s (somewhat) legal, and you can withdraw your winnings online in a heartbeat.
Betting online has really opened the door to niche markets. Punters now feel more comfortable going outside of their comfort zones and trying things out like handicap betting. This particular market is something that’s more common in T20 than test cricket and is the perfect example of a bet which players may not discover in person, but can easily try when betting online.
All of the world’s most popular sports have a wide array of betting markets available, which helps keep things fresh. A classic example is betting on the toss. Is there any logic to it? No. Can you look at the history of cricket matches to predict it? No. But is it fun? You bet it is!
There are different versions of cricket to bet on, different markets to try, and even different ways to place your bets. For instance, in-play cricket bets have enjoyed a significant boost in recent years. Using your phone to place in-play cricket bets goes hand-in-hand – literally – with watching live games.
If you’re not into cricket, then betting on the sport isn’t going to offer you much. But as a fan, there is a mountain of reasons to give online cricket betting a spin.