There is no IPL, no World Cup or international ODIs for India, and the South Africa Tests aren’t exactly a betters’ paradise. But the bookies in Delhi aren’t complaining, for they have found a lucrative replacement – the popular reality show Bigg Boss.
The finale of the show is today and according to bookies, Delhi has bet several hundred crores on the four finalists already. The estimates of how much amount is exactly riding on the result of the show vary. Some bookies claim that bets of around Rs200-250 crore have been made on the show around Delhi while others claim that the figure is as high as Rs1,000 crore, if you take into account the nearby areas in NCR as well.
“This is not an organized sector so it is impossible to estimate that figure. However, the number is not as high as what it would be for IPL or any cricket game. That said, it is substantially higher than everything else. I have had bets worth twice as much as last year for this show,” says a bookie from the capital.
The bets are of different kinds. Some people bet on the show’s winner months in advance. Most such bets become useless once various people are evicted over the months.
‘Don’t watch the show but bet because it is popular’
The people betting on the show from Delhi include gamblers who don’t watch the show but bet because it is popular. Amit Singh, a south Delhi resident, tells us, “I have bet a few thousand rupees on Shilpa Shinde because she seems all set to win the show. Quite honestly, I don’t watch the show but it is a good bet. I spoke to a few of my friends and did some research on the show before betting.”
On the opposite spectrum are fans rooting for their favourite contestant, such as Nitin from east Delhi, who bet Rs2,000 on Luv Tyagi earlier and has now placed a new bet on Hina Khan. “For me, it is who I want to win. I have been watching the show for five years. Last year, I bet on Manveer to win and he did. This time, I got a bit unlucky with Luv but I’m certain my new bet will pay off,” he says.
There are also people betting on Bigg Boss for the first time. Anant*, a Noida resident explains, “I place bets on cricket regularly but this something new for me. I have bet Rs10,000 on Shilpa Shinde. It’s just that the show is popular and given Shilpa’s popularity, I think it’s easy money.”
According to bookies, Shilpa is the clear favourite to win the show with over 30% of all the bets from Delhi against her name, while Puneesh is the least favoured of the four finalists.
Bookies say that a lot of the bets this season have come from west UP due to the popularity of Luv Tyagi in the region. Luv, who exited the show last week, is a Gurgaon resident and has amassed a sizable fan following in the west UP towns of Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, and Ghaziabad.
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