The King of Satta Matka: Rattan Khathri

A Matka King is a person makes a huge amount of money from Satta Matka Gambling. And Rattan Khatri, known as the Matka King, from the early 1960s to mid-1990s controlled a nationwide illegal gambling network with international connections which involved several lakh punters and dealt with crores of rupees.

With the textile industry booming in Bombay cotton textile boomed from 1,714 million meters to 4,016 million meters in production. The area was crowded with workers coming in from all places in the country. It was during this crowded Mumbai when the textile workers found a new way to make quick money, Ankada jugad. Ankada Jugad was the brainchild of a simple grocery keeper in Walli, Kalyanji Bhagat and involved the mill workers or others in betting on the opening and closing rates of cotton from the New York cotton exchange they got from Bombay cotton exchange through teleprinters.

The Matka business was flourishing and soon its revenues rose to around 500 crore around the time. However, Cotton mills were being closed down and the New York exchange stopping the practice, it was time for the evolution of Ankada Jugad.

Khatri’s matka started in the bustling business area of Dhanji Street in Mumbadevi where idlers used to wager on the daily trickle of the fluctuating cotton rates from the New York market. Gradually, it became a big gambling hub as the quantum of bets and betters increased. Due to a row over a winning number plus the New York market’s five-day week schedule, compulsive betters began looking for alternatives. Based on the requests of his friends, Khatri started his own syndicate and started drawing three cards to decide the day’s number. Khatri’s betting was considered more genuine as the cards were reportedly opened in the presence of the patron and initially called Satta.

These practices brought life to the dying gambling habits and rose dramatically in a few years with central Mumbai as its centre. The gambling dens where all bought after a massive crackdown by the Mumbai police in the following years. The punters spread across the northern parts of India and the outskirts of Bombay looking for new modes of gambling. Satta and Matka both went more underground to online markets and other smaller game plays. The punters went looking for newer versions of gambling such as cricket betting or online markets.

During the emergency in India, Khatri was jailed and served 19 months behind bars. He has retired from the gambling business and lives near Tardeo; however, he still does visit the racecourse to bet on his favourite horses. Today, Satta Matka games are found in several states in the north with Maharashtra being one of the prominent hubs and also following its punters the game has several versions online.