On current estimates, up to £20bn (€24bn / $27bn / AED100bn at time of writing) of cricket bets are transacted over mobile phones in India every year. Let that sink in.
India is a well-oiled machine for cricket betting but their tech stack is still old-school 90s. Holdalls with dozens of burner phones are set up in Presidential Suites, garages, motels, and saloons across the nation. In every city, town and village in India there is 100% guarantee that someone is making or taking a voice bet over a phone line.
Although the adoption of smartphones in India is extremely high, the betting markets still often prefer voice over electronic communication. Using a system of tiers, the bookies at the very top of the market might lay 500 Lakh (£489K / €584K / AED2.44m) bets on a regular basis during large games. But for smaller bets through their network of agents and sub-agents through the pyramid, they announce prices down a phone line to an awaiting mass audience. Imagine a high frequency stock ticker being read aloud in Hindi, and that’s the betting line.
Each member of the network keeps an open phone line (or more than one) on mute, waiting for the moment to bet. Execution is done by unmuting and requesting for the market, price and volume. Bets are confirmed by voice and booked both sides.
So how can sharp betting syndicates in Europe, make profit from this outdated methodology?
Although 95% of this staggering annual turnover is for cricket, there are some niche bookies who will take bets on other sports via the phone. Although most won’t use the same setup described above, they will take private calls for big football matches, tennis and sometimes even horse racing (but rarely) and lay very large bets. All these bets can be back or lay. If there is a market on Betfair with some decent liquidity, the bookies will offer big multiples. However, this method doesn’t charge the 2% as Betfair does. The price and volume makes the winning bet to be paid. There are occasions when the bookie will instead clip the price by a bip, but these are rare.
In the same way that Skin exchange accounts are given, any telephone betting is based on a relationship with that bookie. How much you can win or lose, and credit available, is determined by trust. Since 2018, the Cricket88 team has built mutually-profitable working relationships with several of the biggest bookmaking networks in India. They have decades of experience handling all aspects of sports betting in the country and would not even return an email from an unknown betting syndicate (not that their emails are easy to find)!
But even with the very best relationship, if a bookie feels the market is being manipulated, or the player has too big of an edge, telephone betting won’t last very long. So careful management is needed weekly to ensure the smooth running of the trading.
The final piece of the betting process are the bet requests, executions and confirmations. Many Western syndicates would need to brush up their Hindi to be able to trade these phone lines so Cricket88 provides a chat service interface. The trader can send bet requests manually or through automated process (in shorthand codes) into our Skype or Telegram chats. A bet request might look like this:
This would be a request in the West Ham v Man Utd match, a home win, minimum odds of 2.2, bet size of 40 Lakhs (£39.1K / €46.7K / $53.0K AED194K at time of writing).
Bet execution speed is the issue here. It can take up to 15 seconds for the bet to be confirmed or rejected. Whilst for pre-match this is usually no issue, for in-running, all sides will have to optimise their workflows. Cricket88 can sometimes execute within 10 seconds, but this cannot be guaranteed. Syndicates need to understand the latency trade-off, for large volumes at Betfair prices.
Bets are confirmed with a simple OK or an emoji. Both sides will then book the bet in their own ledgers with the chat remaining as the transaction book. P&Ls are calculated after every match and at the end of every day. All accounting and settlements are made every Monday except in a few circumstances, such as the big cricket match still on. But credit will have to be cleared before betting again.
If you can beat the Betfair price and would like to trade multiples of Betfair screen volume, at the same price, then Indian telephone betting is a no-brainer and Cricket88 can help build your networks of outlets. Talk to us today!