The gambling scene is undergoing a modernization as the betting underworld hires skilled coders to develop Android apps and locally hosted websites for unrestricted betting. In addition to this, dabba trading operators have gone a step further by creating customized apps, which are then shared through Telegram channels to protect their operations from law enforcement.
The Gujarat Crime Investigation Department (CID) has identified 90 websites and apps developed by local programmers involved in illegal gambling activities within the state. Recognizing the scale of this issue, the department has notified the ministry of home affairs and urged them to take decisive legal action to address the problem.
According to a CID officer, local punters operating these betting apps and websites in Gujarat are guided by their masters based in Dubai. The betting mafia exploits the legal permissions granted by the UAE to run gambling websites, taking advantage of the lack of jurisdiction over their real operations in India.
To facilitate their illicit activities, these betting mafias and cricket bookies hire local software developers, graphic designers, and web developers, paying them modest amounts ranging from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 to create their apps and websites.
The ambiguity surrounding the legality of betting games provides an opportunity for these mafias. While certain cricket fantasy leagues have been recognized as games of skill by courts in Gujarat and Rajasthan, the lack of a clear definition between skill-based games and betting games leaves room for exploitation, according to an officer from the State Monitoring Cell (SMC).
In recent months, the Ahmedabad city crime branch has apprehended 12 individuals involved in inviting bets on players and teams during the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches. The prevalence of such betting rackets tends to increase during the IPL series and high-profile international cricket matches.
Regarding dabba trading, it is suspected that illegal stockbrokers engaged in this practice are following instructions from their bosses in Mumbai and Dubai. Dabba trading is prohibited by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The police are currently investigating various bookies running both cricket betting and dabba trading businesses simultaneously.