Little wonder that the World Cup being one of the biggest events in sports attracts millions of football fans from around the world. The feverish game has it’s fans across Bhutan betting for their favourite team.
Some of the most popular teams amongst Bhutanese are Brasil, Argentina, England, Spain, Italy and Netherlands.
“If you enjoy betting on sports then you will definitely not want to miss the action at the World Cup 2010 as it’s a perfect time to pad the bankroll,” Karma Dorji from Bumthang said. “I have in small amounts have kept bets in office, at bar and at the snooker house. If Italy wins, I will get richer by Nu. 15, 000,” he added.
The most common bet in the country amongst the fans is the single game wagers where one picks a winner or a draw. “This system of betting allows one to make either make fast cash or turn broke instantly,” said Ugyen Tshering who had recently won Nu. 1,000 after Argentina won over Nigeria.
Another popular wager is betting on whom one thinks will win the entire World Cup. “This pays out the best,” said Nima Gyalpo, an Engineer. Some government offices in the capital have come up with a betting system where by a lot is drawn and the winner at the end will take home the major portion of the bet money. Over 20 fans in each office have put forth Nu. 300 each.
“Betting in Bhutan is in small amounts. In my country we have a system where by one can go online and bet millions of dollars,” said Andres Gomez, a Columbian.
Aum Zam, a hotelier in Phuentsholing said that she received a text message from some anonymous person asking her if she wanted to bet Nu. 10,000 but she declined.
“It is important that you learn all the wagers you can make because then you will be able to take advantage of the bets with the best odds. Learning the teams inside out starting early will allow to have a much better grasp on betting the outcomes of matches throughout the World Cup,” said Sonam Dorji a contractor stationed at Samtse. He has put some substantial amount on Spain. He refused to reveal the sum.
According to Yeshi Dorji, a civil servant in Trashigang, even if one does not enjoy betting on sports typically, one will find making an exception for the World Cup. “It is definitely worth it. Watching the World Cup when you have wagers on the matches is a lot more entertaining then just watching the game, just make sure you don’t bet more then you can afford to lose,” he added.
"Some of the game has been fantastic. The games were very good. The super eights should make the competition more stiff and engrossing and betting more compulsive" Ugyen Tashi, a corporate employee in the capital said.
According to section 393 of the Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB), a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of gambling, if the defendant stakes or wagers something of value upon the outcome of a contest of chance or a future contingent event not under the defendent’s control or influence upon an agreement or understanding that the defendant will receive something of value in the event of a certain outcome.
Further the section 395 of the PCB states that except for an authorized lottery all else are to be considered gambling and therefore illegal.
Betting on this football extravaganza is high and fans have reported record wagering activity as punters flock to back their favorite teams.