Indian bookies are making money betting on dead bodies. They wait outside of the pyres and study the dead person in preparation for placing their bets.
Varanasi is a world-famous city with its famous ghats or steps along the river Ganges. Millions come here to take part in elaborate Hindu rituals.
Some ghats, said to be thousands of years old, are home to funeral pyres where hundreds of bodies are burned every day.
Recently, reports have surfaced that bookies in the city are making quick bucks wagering on the dead.
Reportedly, the bookies wait outside of the pyres and study the family members and characteristics of the dead person in preparation for placing their bets.
A gambler goes into the process stating “Each bet is around `1000 and at the end of the day, each one of us makes around `4,000 to `6,000. Those who lay bets on the gender of the body, direction from which it is being brought in, kind of wood and even the time taken for the body to get fully consumed by fire obviously end up winning or losing more than `10,000 per day.”
The betting is done through cell phones and apparently priests don’t know that the loitering people are gambling.
However, there are reports that police are aware of the situation and reportedly take a cut from the profits.