INDIA’S hard-line stance on social gambling has claimed a new set of dissidents after 133 people were arrested in Mumbai this week.
The gambling-related arrests, at the Sea Princess Hotel in Juhu, have been reported to include local political leaders.
Social commentator and activisit Musa Shaikh was believed to be the one to provide the tip-off to police.
Gambling in India, especially on sport, has been the topic of heated debate in recent years.
A black market for sports bookmakers thrives in India and has opened the door for corruption at the highest levels of sport.
A big market seeking to gamble does so with unsafe and unregulated bookmakers, who have regularly been involved with match fixing in the country’s true passion — cricket.
Some reports have put the current black gambling market in India at $150 billion per year and efforts have been made recently to change legislation to offer protections for those who do want to place sports bets.
Certain Indian states do permit gambling during certain festivals like Holi and Diwali — but this is only to be undertaken privately between friends and family and not in public.
Will these arrests progress the debate about legalising sports betting in India, or will one of the world’s biggest markets continue to provide a window for illegal bookmakers to thrive?
We’ll be watching this space.
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