Gambling is banned throughout Indian with the exception of Goa and Sikkim. However, the demand for card gambling and betting has only grown each year as middle-class Indians have shown a tendency to be willing to lay down bets on sports, card games and online casino games in an effort to win more money as well as have a different form of relaxation.
Illegal Gambling Industry Thrives
Since there is no legal market to cater to the growing demand of this growing market segment, a number of illegal gambling operators have set up shop throughout India to cater to provide gaming services. These illegal gambling operators often run underground poker clubs, illegal gambling dens from posh bungalows and some even run unlicensed online gaming websites.
They have a loyal clientele that is generally built up through personal invites and recommendations. Players are willing to take the risk to gamble at these illegal clubs and home games as the reward is worth more than the risk. Sometimes these clubs have a VIP clientele and the bets are very large, making the operation very lucrative for the players and the promoters.
There have been allegations that a number of these illegal and unlicensed gaming operators have ties with the authorities and pay them a cut in order for them to turn a blind eye.
Crackdown Across Multiple Cities
These illegal gambling operators have come under the spotlight during the last couple of months as authorities across multiple states have turned up the heat by launching a multi-city crackdown that has resulted in raids, clubs being closed and operators being arrested. Some of the cities that have experience a crackdown in recent months include Mumbai, Rajkot and Bhubaneswar.
In a statement, Anup Kumar Sahoo, Deputy Commissioner of Police in Bhubaneswar said “We have asked police stations concerned to keep a watch on such activities within their jurisdiction. We will also launch a special drive in the festive season to crack down on gambling units.”
Towards the end of August, an illegal gambling club was busted in Rajkot which resulted in the arrest of 28 people. The Police Station Inspector in that area was suspended by his superior for turning a blind eye to these gambling operations.
There are as many as 10 states in India currently debating the possibility of legalizing gambling but the progress has been slow due to religious and political opposition.