Shaken by the protests by the betting/fixing community against government’s proposal to use IRCTC website for online betting, and by the political parties to BCCI’s proposal to hold just a Bookies’ Premier League (BPL), leaving them out, the Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidumbaram, has offered a novel solution to calm the nerves of all stakeholders.
The Finance Minister, Mr. P. Chidumbaram, in a meeting with the heads of major political parties, bosses of the D-company and S-company, Chairpersons of BSE, NSE, MCX, Clearing Corporation of India (CCIL), and the Chairman of BCCI decided to legalize betting and allow trading of betting derived financial products related to sports, weather and politics on all the major stock exchanges, instead of a dedicated portal.
According to Mr. Chidumbaram, this will channel the humongous amount of black money back into the country’s economy and eliminate fixers. All betting operations in the country will be handled by the Betting Control Corporation of India (BCCI), as the erstwhile Board of Control for Cricket in India will now be officially known as. Plan is under way to accord legal immunity to Mr. Dalit Modi and appoint him the Chairperson of the BCCI. The minister said, “The government is sure that Mr. Modi will like to go one up on his earlier brainchild, the Indian Premier League (IPL), and script another financial blockbuster.”
The kingpins of the betting syndicates will be able to open ‘Betting and Trading Accounts (BATA)’ in nationalized banks, private banks, LIC and other financial institutions, who anyway have been using innovative (read ‘devious’) means to convert black money into white. These intermediaries will register with the BCCI and one or more stock exchanges to provide hassle free, completely online betting service to their clients. The BCCI will utilize trading platforms of BSE, NSE and MCX; and the clearing house services of the Clearing Corporation of India, which will also manage the odds offered on various betting products. In order to curb the menace of spot fixing, a joint surveillance team of all BATA members will be constituted. This is expected to provide fool-proof cross-surveillance by the BATA members.
The Finance Minister unveiled some of the salient features of the BATA scheme:
- Broking house status exclusively to all major political parties, D-company, S-company and other established global underworld operators, including the Italian Mafiosi. Italy, as usual, will be accorded the MFN status.
- No income tax on brokerage income. However, the profits of the investors will be treated as short-term capital gains.
- Clearing Corporation of India to oversee T+1 daily rolling settlement.
- BCCI and all banks and insurance companies recently exposed (read ‘recommended’) by the Cobrapost to be given financial intermediary licenses.
- Both cash and derivative products to be launched.
The first tranche of betting products contains some interesting choices like:
- ‘Sree-IPL-MatchX-RPO-10’: Whether more than 10 runs per over will be conceded by an IPL bowler in a match e.g. Sreesanth in this case.
- ‘Monsoon-DateX’: Whether it’ll rain on a particular day during the Monsoon season.
- ‘IPL-Eliminator-Qualify’: Whether team X will qualify for IPL eliminators.
- ‘Election-Result’: Result of a political election or the difference in vote count among candidates.
- ‘Celeb-Child-Name3’: First three alphabets of a Bollywood celebrity’s child’s name e.g. AAR or ARA, etc.
- ‘Delhi-Temp-20d’: Maximum/minimum temperature in Delhi 20 days from today.
- ‘RahulG-Dinner-Aloo’: Will the poor family serve Rahul G aloo sabzi for dinner? etc.
As an aside, over a cup of tea with the reporters, Mr. Chidumbaram said, “We want every Indian, every Facebook and Twitter troll, including #Feku and #Pappu types, to place bets from the comfort of their homes and the subterranean operators to come over ground. And, as some of the smarter ones among you might have guessed by now, our next move will be to clear the decks for FDI in betting.” In a rare show of solidarity, BJP, SP, BSP, TMC and NDA have all pledged their support, keeping in context the billions of Rupees of income from brokerage. The Ladbrokes stock (LAD) on the London Stock Exchange hit the upper circuit filter in response to this announcement.
In an inexplicable fallout of this initiative, soon after the presser by the Finance Minister, the Delhi Police Commissioner, Mr. Dheeraj Kumar and Mumbai Police Commissioner Mr. He-Man Troy tendered their resignations. Reportedly, they felt that the introduction of BATA and the new BCCI will render them jobless anyway. The Home Minister, when contacted on phone in Las Vegas for his views on the development, said “Contact me after three hours!”