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Latest Developments in Gambling News in India

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Raju Das
Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator

Online casinos have become increasingly popular in India, offering a wide array of games and betting options accessible from the comfort of one’s home. Players can enjoy classics like blackjack, roulette, and slots, as well as live dealer games for an immersive experience. 

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently made significant strides in cracking down on illegal gambling activities in India. In connection with the Mahadev online gambling case, the ED seized cash and properties valued at Rs 417 crore. The masterminds behind this operation, Sourabh Chandrakar and Ravi Uppal, amassed a staggering Rs 5,000 crore from their illicit betting app, which they operated from Dubai. Chandrakar, aged 28, and Uppal, aged 43, are the main figures behind Mahadev Online Book, an online platform for betting. They notably splurged around Rs 200 crore on a lavish wedding in February 2023, showcasing the immense profits from their illegal enterprise. For more information about the best online casinos, click here.

Recently, the ED conducted extensive searches targeting money laundering networks associated with the Mahadev APP in cities like Kolkata, Bhopal, and Mumbai. These operations yielded substantial evidence, leading to the freezing and seizure of assets worth Rs 417 crore. Furthermore, four individuals were arrested last month in connection with the case.

Mahadev Online Book facilitated illegal betting on various live games such as poker, cricket, badminton, tennis, and football. Additionally, users could engage in card games like Teen Patti, poker, and ‘Dragon Tiger’, along with betting on Indian elections. The ED’s investigation revealed that the platform operated through multiple websites and closed groups on instant messaging apps, managed by individuals known as “panel owners”. These panel owners advertised Mahadev Book’s contact details online, enticing people to participate in the games. Once lured, participants were instructed to contact specific WhatsApp numbers to begin gambling.

The games offered by Mahadev Online Book were rigged to ensure players lost money over time. Initial findings by the ED indicated that collecting funds, creating user IDs, distributing credentials, and managing earnings were all overseen by these panel owners. Players were required to deposit money into “benami accounts” shared online, following which they were allocated panels by the head office in Dubai. These benami accounts were either fraudulently created or obtained for commission purposes.

The illegal operation began in 2017, witnessing a surge in users during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Chandrakar and Uppal, based in Dubai, retained approximately 80% of the operation’s profits, while the platform operated through various panels or branches sold by them, akin to small franchises.

As the Mahadev betting app continues to draw attention in Chhattisgarh, the ED persists in its rapid investigation. Recent operations led to the seizure and freezing of movable properties worth Rs. 572.41 crore. Notably, the investigation revealed links to Andhra Pradesh, particularly through transactions involving a call center based in Vishakapatnam. The supplementary prosecution complaint filed by the ED outlined six FIRs by local police, primarily from Chhattisgarh, along with one from Andhra Pradesh. The accused operated a call center in Vishakapatnam under various brand names, including Tigerexchange, Gold365, and Laser247, to facilitate bets nationwide. Despite regulations prohibiting gaming for stakes in Telugu states, illegal portals continue to operate with minimal intervention from law enforcement, highlighting the challenges in curbing such activities effectively.

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Raju Das
Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator
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