Matka, also known as Satta King, is a type of lottery that originally focused on placing bets on the closing and opening rates of cotton being transmitted out of the New York Cotton Exchange. It started before India gained independence in 1947, but back then it was called Ankada Jugar, which meant figure gambling.
History of the Game
For the original game, the New York Cotton Exchange would transmit the cotton opening rates and the closing rates to the Bombay Cotton Exchange.
However, in 1961 they stopped this practice, so the punters had to find another way to keep this mode of gambling alive. Rattan Khatri came up with the idea of guessing the opening/closing rates of imaginary items. Some numbers would be written on some paper and placed in a matka (a pot that is made out of earth). One person would then be responsible for selecting a chit and shouting out the winning numbers. Sometimes cards are drawn from a deck, but this is still known as Matka.
The Matka business was at its most popular in Mumbai in the 80s and 90s. In fact, around 500 crore would be bet every single month. However, gambling is actually illegal in India, so the police cracked down on it, forcing Matka dens to close down and dealers to be a lot more careful.
Nowadays, Matka is still played in India, but its monthly turnover has reduced significantly to 100 crore. There used to be around 2,000 places to play Matka in Mumbai alone, but nowadays there are just 300 left.
When Matka Became Hard to Play, Punters Had to Turn Elsewhere
With it becoming extremely difficult to play Matka in the late 90s, punters had to find something else that they could bet on, so the majority of them turned their attention to cricket betting.
Betting on cricket, just like betting on Matka, was illegal, but it was quite easy to bet on this sport thanks to all the illegal bookmakers that were roaming about. Nowadays, it is still illegal to gamble throughout most of India, but Indians can still get their cricket betting fix thanks to a wide range of European bookmakers that have no qualms about allowing those living in India to sign up with them. Furthermore, there are still a huge number of illegal bookmakers that Indians can use.
Back in the 90s, they turned to cricket as an alternative to Matka because there are some similarities when it comes to betting. For instance, you can try and predict whether a team will score above or below a certain number of runs, which is similar to trying to predict what numbers will be drawn from a matka or a deck of cards. Furthermore, you can also try to predict how many runs will be scored off the next ball or in a particular over. Matka is all about making predictions about numbers, and there are so bets you can place in cricket regarding numbers, so you can see why so many matka fans turned to cricket when the government started to crack down on it.