Mumbai: Put your last fiver on this: the satta bazaar is in a fix. Across the globe, the odds are that bookies and punters have their finger on the panic button, with everyone trying to pip the others to the post to find a way out of this coronavirus pandemic. The suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL) until further notice has only rubbed salt into their wound.
"Yes, this is a big jolt and will further dig into the pockets of bookies who have already taken money for the semi-finalists, finalists and the ultimate winner of the 2020 season," said a bookie on conditions of anonymity.
The Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad were on the top of their charts as the favourites, at Nos. 1 and 2 respectively. Sunrisers and Mumbai Indians were on 5.5 while Chennai and Delhi Capitals on 5.7 and 7.4 in the third and the fourth on the betting radar respectively.
Now, the bookies will have to pay back the money to punters, as the event is practically called off this season. It is being given to understand that a sum of Rs 2,000 crore had exchanged hands even before the event could get underway.
The possibility of the emergence of such a scenario must have never crossed their minds. While there seems to be a way out for bookmakers and punters to an extent, when it comes to global guessing games, there are bets accepted for all manner of races under the sun, from pigeon to dog racing.
"Yes, we must sustain, which is the reason the betting world grabs every opportunity that comes its way," said a bookie, adding that even the Indian matka market has joined the gang. All the entire operations are carried out in Dubai.
"Dubai has been our hub and there is some action," said the bookie about the operations. However, the action is limited to certain sections only, as many in this trade are now living off their savings, while others are making inroads into this venture.
Meanwhile, the sports betting community in London is getting set for a digital summit from April 27 to May 1. Around 140 speakers, including more than 20 CEOs of major bookmakers from across Europe, the United States and Latin America, are expected to have their fingers in this emergency pie, so to speak.
"It is probably fair to describe this as an 'emergency summit', as the central theme across all five days will be how to survive the slump and bounce back once normal business operations resume," SBC president Andrew McCarron said, talking to a section of the media. "CEOs of many leading operators around the world will be taking part, so we'll see a lot of good ideas shared.
Given the unique circumstances, I think there'll also be discussions about how companies can work together for the long-term good of the wider industry and its customers," he said. UK punters stake around £250 million ($312 million) on the Grand National alone, and that kind of income is impossible to replace.
However, he says that punters largely are creatures of habit so whilst the online bookmakers can be credited with being innovative, the rewards go nowhere near replacing the losses in income. After all, betting is a form of entertainment enjoyed by millions of people.