New Delhi - Indian police have smashed four betting syndicates and arrested nine men in New Delhi and Mumbai for running illegal gambling syndicates during the Cricket World Cup, a top police official said on Monday.
Police raided a hotel and three apartments in central and northern Delhi on Sunday when they seized laptops, mobile phones and other equipment used by the bookies to accept and record bets on the outcome of cricket matches, said Ashok Chand, a senior police official.
"We were acting on a tip that gambling syndicates are active during the matches and have broken up at least four gambling syndicates," Chand said.
Police arrested eight bookmakers taking profits on the bets and seized about 28 million rupees ($620 000) collected by the bookies during Saturday's opening game between India and Bangladesh.
Chand said the bookmakers used two sets of mobile phones to record and take bets during the match and would calculate profit and losses after the game.
Indian police have launched a major crackdown on spot betting during the six-week World Cup and would be extra vigilant during forthcoming matches, he said.
The bookies were being questioned to trace others involved in similar betting activities, he added.
Another cricket bookie was arrested in Mumbai while accepting bets on the India-Bangladesh match, Press Trust of India reported on Sunday.
While betting in sport is illegal in India, it is also rampant with illegal syndicates suspected of links with criminals.
Spot betting is common in India and constitutes a major part of the money wagered on matches.
In 2000, South African captain Hansie Cronje, and Test players, Mohammad Azharuddin of India and Salim Malik of Pakistan and at least three other players from the subcontinent were either fined or banned after they were caught in a spot match-fixing scandal.
The International Cricket Council last year suspended three Pakistan cricketers following allegations of spot-fixing by a British tabloid that carried out a sting operation.