The only form of gambling allowed in this Indian state is based on dreaming

The 80-year-old grandfather goes there to play Teer, the only legal form of gambling in Meghalaya state.

But this isn’t like betting on a normal sport. Wagers in teer are based on the world of dreams.

The game works like this: Squatting in a semi-circle with their bows, 20 or so archers engage in a 10-minute firing frenzy, trying to hit a bundle of straw about 50 meters away from them as many times of possible.

Players bet on how many arrows will end up in the bale, choosing a number between 0 and 99 which represents the last two digits of the total number to find their mark. For example, if 453 arrows hit the bundle, everyone who chose 53 wins a payout.

It’s a game of chance, but it is guided by the belief that the winning numbers appear in the dreams of players, who use a local system to translate images into numbers.

After each session, the arrows are counted to determine the winning numbers.

“A corpse, doctor and a person wearing a police uniform would all indicate the number 9,” explains Loknath Khannal, a Nepali local who has been selling tickets at a Teer counter for 30 years. A dog or a cow would mean the number 4, he adds.

Gurung says he has been most lucky when being guided by his dreams, recalling a bet he placed on 12 after that number came to him in his sleep. He put on 5,000 rupees ($70) at various counters around town because most limited bets to 1,000 rupees ($14).

“I played a single number 12 on the first round and won,” he said. “I don’t remember how much I made in total, but for a 500 rupee bet, you win 40,000 rupees. So you can…

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