Gambling goes upmarket in Hyderabad

Published: Published Date – 11:15 PM, Sat – 14 May 22

Hyderabad: Dingy lodges, isolated houses, remote farmhouses and star hotels are now passé. Gambling and cricket betting organisers are slowly moving into posh apartments and high rises to carry out their activities uninterrupted.

Some are shelling out up to Rs 1.5 lakh as rent a month, which is apart from high maintenance charges, all to ensure privacy and to smoothly run the activity without much interference from other people, and yes, to evade the eyes of law too.

In a recent case, the police, who raided a gambling den operating from a prominent high-rise apartment at Kukatpally, were shocked to find that the organisers had taken the flat on rent on the 18th floor and were paying a monthly rent of Rs 1.5 lakh apart from monthly maintenance of Rs.20,000. In all, 13 persons were caught and a sum of Rs 2.52 lakh was seized from the spot. Cyberabad Special Operations Team (Madhapur) said the organisers were collecting a commission of up to 10 per cent from the winners.

“Only the rich, ranging from realtors, businessmen and others, are invited to play the game. All of them wanted a safe avenue. So the organisers took the flat on rent in the plush apartment to avoid police surveillance and raids. The earnings were good, and hence they were able to pay the huge rent,” a Cyberabad SOT official said.

In another instance, in January, the Cyberabad SOT raided a flat in an apartment complex in Gachibowli and found that the organiser there was paying a rent of Rs 6,000 a day and had taken the premises on rent specifically for organising gambling. “A closed group was maintained on WhatsApp and only known persons were invited for playing Three Cards games,” the official said.

Similarly, the police found that cricket betting organisers were also moving from small houses and lodges to plush flats and high-end apartments and carrying out their activities.

“Apart from privacy, there are a lot of restrictions for gaining entry into apartments. At times, the security staff alerts the organisers about the presence of policemen in and around the building. Moreover, there are high-end surveillance cameras installed and the feed is accessible to the organisers,” another police official pointed out.

In short, gambling dens are not dens anymore. They are also now about glitz, though the activity remains the same old shady card dealing.

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