IPL 5: Bookies shift base to the internet

Tired of police raids, the bookies have taken the Rs 75,000 crore betting market to the‘somewhat-safe\' virtual world.

Published: 11th April 2012 02:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 07:26 PM   |  A+A-

1-COPS

Virat Kohli of Royal Challengers Bangalore with his team members during an IPL match against Kolkota Knight Riders at Chinnaswamy Stadium on Tuesday I

BANGALORE: Cricket betting is making waves online. It is all set to cross Rs 75,000 crore mark this year, if some high profile bookies are to be believed. Last year, it is said they did a “business of Rs 50,000 crore.” The bookies, who fear constant police raids, have become active in ‘somewhat-safe virtual world’ than from operating in the ‘not-so-safe physical world’. It is said that the slow approach of the City’s Central Crime Branch (CCB) in tracking such cases are “helping” them flourish.

Highly placed sources in the Police Department told Express that some officials who work in CCB’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) are not even equipped enough to hack even an online account, “let alone conducting longdrawn online investigations to nail the kingpins of bookies’ trade.”

“There are a lot of online websites and closed communities on social networking sites which deal with real money. On paper, during registrations, they pose as just gamers involved in gambling,” said an online bookie, operating from Mumbai, under the condition of  anonymity.

Another such online bookie with the pseudonym JJWinner revealed that he operates from Bangalore and elaborated on the way payments are made. “Once you register on these websites, you have to make an online money transfer for the base amount. This is done either through net-banking or using electronic wallets called Neteller or Moneybookers. The latter is safer because customers can send money to their electronic wallets without being identified by a bank as a betting transaction. Money can then be sent from the electronic wallet to any bookmaker or anywhere you want to buy the items online,” he said.

A cyber expert, upon initial probe, said that companies like Neteller and Moneybookers are experts at dealing with numerous currencies and countries. At present, the city-based cyber experts working with the CID have just found out that such online betting business is taking place.

When contacted, CCB’s DCP (Crime) DM Krishnam Raju said that there are some legal websites which operate as gaming portals.

“Though such websites are only involved in legal gaming, a closer look and preliminary investigations have revealed that many deal with real money. We will have to track them down. Such things exist even with Poker online. We will track them down and use all the assistance we get from the Cyber Crime Police,” he said.

The city police are too waking up to this new trend of escaping the cops by moving transactions online and are looking at hiring more cyber security experts to solve such cases immediately.

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