The history of Shillong Teer dates back to the early 20th century during the British occupation of India. However, the practice of shooting arrows with bows went back a long ways.
Some tribes and villages of Meghalaya resisted the British rule for a long time. Any foreigner who ventured into their land were considered dangerous and were often met by a rain of arrows from the tribal warriors.
Even after the British eventually took control of the entire region, the practice of shooting arrows with bows did not stop. Archery competitions and festivals were conducted to keep the archers in shape.
However, in time, spectators wanted to get in on the action. They started placing bets. This helped the archers make more money and the viewers getting more into the action. Word spread. It was getting popular. While the exact dates are unclear, the concept of archery gambling (Teer) was born in the early 20th century.
As Teer became popular across the state and especially in Shillong, the then capital of undivided Assam, the government made gambling illegal and with it, Teer. There would often be government crack-downs and raids on Teer counters across Shillong. Processions were made by local players and teer counter owners, but to no avail. Because of this, Teer games would be held in Upper Shillong or in the corn fields of Golf Links in Shillong. However, many of the games played during this time were rigged by local goons.
Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972, and as the young government started taking shape, it began to realise that Teer could become a good source of revenue both for the state government and for the people of Meghalaya. So, in 1982, archery gambling ‘Teer’ was legalised in the entire state of Meghalaya. An Act called the Meghalaya Amusement and Betting Tax (Ammendment) Act 1982 was passed to control the game.
Shillong Teer Today
The modern day Teer hasn’t changed much from the early concept. But to avoid rigging of results and to ensure fair play, Shillong Teer games are now overseen by the Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute/Association.
There are thousands of Teer counters across Shillong and nearby villages. These shops sell tickets and slips for the game. Results of both the first round and the second round would be displayed in a chalkboard.
It is estimated that there are at least 5000 such stalls across the state. Each teer counter is taxed a yearly license fee of Rs. 3000 and is required to maintain a record of daily earnings. In addition, each teer counter is required to pay Rs. 20 every day towards the organisation of the sports, to compensate for the wages of the archers. Archers are paid about Rs. 300 for a day’s allowance. Teer gambling in Shillong has provided employment to over 10,000 people, according to sources.
The Khasi Hills Archery Sports Association that oversees the archery games is composed of 12 clubs from different localities. While there are internal politics between the clubs that may often times lead to news headlines, the games and subsequently, the results have been known to be fair and free of the politics.
How Shillong Teer Results are Determined
Everyday, 30 archers from the Khasi Hills Archery Sports Institute and 10 archers each from two archery clubs, that is 50 archers in total, are handed out 30 arrows to shoot in the first round. Shooting for the first round takes place at 3:30 PM.
Their target is a pole of straw measuring roughly 43 inches by 32 inches. The arrows are shot from a distance of about 150 feet.
When all the arrows from the archers’ bows have been released, all the arrows that hit the target are stacked in groups of 10 and counted.
The number formed by the last two digits of the total number of arrows that hit the target is the winning number. For example, if out of the 1500 arrows that are fired, 864 arrows hit the straw target, the winning number for the day is 64.
For the second round of the Teer games, 20 arrows each are given to the archers. A slightly smaller target is placed this time. The number of arrows that hit the target are counted again and the last two digits taken out to form the winning number of the second round.
This cycle is repeated everyday, with all the 12 clubs from the Association contributing archers. Many of the clubs’ archers are from the outskirts of Shillong and are paid roughly 250 – 300 INR for a day’s game.
The winning numbers are then passed on to all the Teer counters for display at 4:00 PM. If you have the winning slip, you can collect your winnings from the counter that you bought the tickets from.
How To Play Shillong Teer
There are several ways to place a bet in Teer. While the odds of winning a direct/single number is 100/1, teer counters have devised a scheme to increase the odds of winning some of your money back.
Here are some of the ways you can place and win a bet in Shillong Teer:
Single: Single number in Teer is any number between 00 and 99. Simply go up to a teer counter and place a bet on a number for a specified amount. This is the most common form of placing a teer bet. You can place a bet for the first round before 4:00 PM and for the second round before 5:00 PM everyday. If you place a bet for Rs. 10 on the number 67 in the first round, and if 67 is the winning number, you’d get Rs. 800 from the counter where you placed your bet. Winnings for single number is Rs. 80 in the first round and Rs. 60 in the second round.
Ending: You can place bets on all numbers ending on a specific number. If you feel that the winning number is going to end in a specific number, say 7, then you can place a bet on ‘Ending 7’. This means that if the winning number is 07, 17, 27, 37…97, you’d be one of the winners. You are betting on all the numbers ending with 7.
Winnings on an Ending bet is slightly different from Single number. For an Ending number bet of Rs. 10, you’d get Rs. 95 in return in the first round, and Rs. 85 in the second round.
House: In House betting, you are betting on all the numbers starting with a specific number. A ‘3 House’ means all the numbers starting from 3, that is 30 – 39. Like Ending number teer bets, House bets are often made in multiples of Rs. 10. If you had bet Rs. 10 on a house, you’d get Rs. 80 back in the first round.
Pair: In this format, you’d be betting on all pairs of numbers, that is 11, 22, 33…99. The payouts are the same as that of House betting, and bet amounts are often placed in multiples of 10.
Forecast: Forecast is the jackpot of all teer games. Forecast is when you’re placing bets simultaneously on the first and second rounds. Forecast betting is done before the first round. To win, you have to get both the results of the first and second rounds right. For every Re. 1 bet you place on a forecast bet, you get Rs. 4000 in return. For a winning forecast bet of Rs. 10, you get Rs. 10,000 in return. But as you can imagine, the chances of winning a forecast teer is very slim. You’d need to have had a wonderful dream.
How to Predict Winning Numbers and Common Numbers
For most locals, dreams are the still the way to predict winning numbers. Interpretation of dreams is a very big thing here. Objects and actions in a dream are often associated with numbers, and ultimately, every dream can be broken down into numbers. Locals place bets on this numbers.
While there are no specific methodologies to interpreting dreams, there are several common factors; for example, if you see a snake in your dream, you’d want to place a bet on a number consisting of 6 or 9. Similarly, if you went fishing and caught 5 fishes, you’d bet on 55 (fish in a dream translates to 5 in real life).
But these numbers are different for different interpreters. How you interpret a dream, and what number it translates to depends on the person interpreting the dreams. Each interpreter has his or her own methods.
For those that do no believe in superstition and dreams, there’s mathematics. Using previous results, some believe that it is possible to calculate probable numbers called ‘Common Numbers’. Common numbers consist of Hit numbers and low numbers. Hit numbers are numbers with high probability of winning and low numbers, as the name indicates, have lower chances of winning. If you have enough money, you may bet on all of the numbers.
The mathematical formula used to calculate and predict Common Numbers in teer is different for each person. All of these formulae consist of previous day’s first round and second round results, mixing them up and factoring in some constant. The formulae are confusing and sometimes makes no sense.
At the end of the day, Teer betting is a game of chance, no matter how you put it. Be it dreams or mathematics, there is no way of predicting how many arrows are going to hit the target at the shooting grounds.