The Strange Case of Dreaming and Gambling in India

In the Indian city of Shillong, Meghalaya, Teer is the only form of legal gambling. Let’s take a closer look at this age-old game and understand why so many people are attracted to it.

Teer is the single authorized form of gambling in India (Shillong City), Meghalaya in India. It would be an understatement to state it has gained popularity. Like Tej Gurung who is a retired Air Force officer, there are those gamblers that spend so much of their time on archery fields located within Shillong city which represents India’s broader gambling terrain.

Let’s take a closer look at this age-old game and understand why so many people are attracted to it.


Teer is an archery sport where about 20 or more archers fire arrows at a bundle of straws, which is at a distance of 50 meters from them. The archers have to squat in a semi-circle and try to hit as many times as they can for 10 minutes.


While the archers are busy hitting the bale of straws, others in the village indulge in gambling and try to guess the number of arrows that will end up in the straw bale. Even the archers themselves place the bets.

The people who place the bets need not have to guess the whole number of arrows that hit the bale but only the last two digits. So, if the total number of arrows that are in the bale is 599, everyone who placed their bets on the number 99 would win a share of the reward.

Now looking at the title of the article, you are most definitely confused as to how archery is linked to dreaming. Have no fear, let me explain how the residents of Tilong indulge in gambling by dreaming as well.

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On any day, there are numerous winners for a single game of Teer. With over 500 betting stalls spread throughout the city, you can imagine the demand to place the bets. At its peak, the 500 plus betting stalls in Shillong have collected over five crore Rupees on a single day.  That’s a lot of money going into gambling in the state.

Some of the people who win the bets regularly say that their dreams guided them to the winning bet. The people of Shillong have associated various characters that appear in their dreams to real numbers.

For example, a corpse, doctor, or a police officer appearing in the dream would translate to the number 9, whereas the appearance of a dog or a cow would indicate the number 4.

Gurung, who himself is an archer, feels that his actions taken on the basis of his dreams have yielded him the best results. Gurung by following his dreams has already won ₹5,000 (USD 70) by placing a bet on the number 7.

Back then, a bet for a mere ₹500 would win you ₹ 40,000. Since Gurung placed all his money on this single number, you can imagine the amount of money that he won.


In December 2016, Teer, just like many other businesses in India, took a massive blow due to the demonetization of  ₹500 and₹1,000 notes in India. Since this was a game where people would pay hard cash to place their bets, the overnight demonetization of the currency resulted in a massive loss for the sport.

People who had already placed bets for the next day saw their money devalued to nothing. The aftermath of demonetization meant that people found it extremely hard to get their hands on the new currency.

People who once used to place bets for ₹5,000 ended up placing bets of only ₹500.


Teer, just like any other form of gambling can be extremely rewarding if you end up winning. It is due to this high winning margin that this sport attracts so many punters. Additionally, since this is a legal form of gambling, more people are involved in the game.

Combine this with the powerful effect that dreams have on their decision making and you have an exciting sport that combines the unconscious mind with sports betting.

In Shillong, Teer has become a culture, and nothing will steer people away from this age-old game.