It's a natural fit for Betfair to get into India. Cricket betting is enormous and local bookies are mostly traders, offering a buy and sell price with each quote. Legalising betting in the country is the next step, and the most logical way to crack down on illegal, unlicensed betting, the most common route for corruption.
Indian law means foreign companies must partner with local firms to do business there, in any industry.
Betfair and William Hill target India
Britain's biggest betting companies are bidding for the first online gambling licence in India to gain a slice of the country's $60bn (£37bn) betting market. The high-street bookie William Hill, along with internet players Betfair and Bwin, are bidding for the internet licence in the Himalayan state of Sikkim in early September. A decision is expected in the next two weeks.
Some 13 betting companies, including local Indian operators, are battling it out for at least three licences in Sikkim. Sources said they want their betting services live from April 2010 – in time for the football World Cup in South Africa.
The query really is how will other Indian states react? Will cross-border betting be permitted, ignored or criminalised? It is hard to imagine a nation so vast and diverse as India will let online gambling go unchecked, without some states queueing up to follow Sikkim in granting licences, and others vocal in their opposition to it.
If and when it does happen, watch for cricket trading volumes on Betfair (if it gains one of the licences) to explode.