Diwali 2017: The recent crackdown on betting rackets and makeshift casinos in Delhi-NCR has driven the city’s gambling business to take the virtual route. The operators are increasingly using digital platforms and online apps, hosted outside the country, to hold chance game events amid a closed, members-only community.The weeks ahead of Diwali 2017 are considered the peak season for gambling when playing cards or other luck games is considered auspicious by many, swelling the number of players manifold. Operators create exclusive clubs online where clients can place their bets in real time and the money is collected offline the following day. Experts said apps like PPpoker gives an option of hosting the card game where local players can be invited through their social media page. There are other websites like 888casino, Williams Hill and 1xbet that offer popular live casino games.“We have inputs about gambling agents who are sharing links with businessmen of Delhi-NCR to play card games online and huge money is being traded each night,” a senior Delhi Police official told. “Earlier, they used to rent a farmhouse or bungalow for organising poker, card-based games, and roulette around the festival of Diwali 2017 but now these agents are using digital covers for their operations.”The official admitted that it is difficult to crack down on online players as most of the websites are hosted abroad. “There are several roadblocks, which includes getting a log from the said app or site operator. Simultaneous raids at individual houses and gathering technical evidence are other impediments,” the police officer said. Confirming the spike, UP Police Special Task Force (STF) additional superintendent Triveni Singh said, “Playing chance-based games, including card and number games on the online platform, is increasing as general perception is that it is legit.“Gambling agents have a closed group of players and no outsiders are invited. Only people with references can place the stakes. The confirmation about the invite comes at the eleventh hour and the link to the gaming arena is shared through WhatsApp or other such messaging apps,” the operator explained.“Players use an allotted nickname and there is no transaction of real money. Only points and credit score codes are provided. After the end of each game, the credit score is noted and the next day an agent goes and collect the money from the players,” the operator said.Meanwhile, All India Gaming Federation has demanded making skill-based games legal. “The casino business has huge potential as it can generate revenue for the state. Black money is involved in it as it is not legal. As soon as a state decides to legalise and regulate it, many corporates will come forward to operate it professionally,” said Roland Landers, CEO AIGF.
Recently, cops arrested a suspended Gurugram Police head constable for allegedly running an illegal casino in the upscale South City-I colony. Cops also arrested 41 people, including city businessmen and four women.
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