Oct 252011

The 19 year old BBA Student ‘Pritish’ lost his BMW, iPhone, Zippo Lighter and 45,000 cash in a gamble.

“We ran out of cash midway through the game. So we started betting smaller things like lighters and watches. We all bet our cars and in the end I lost mine. I’ve had to hand over my keys to my friend. But I will win it back next weekend,” said the confident, young BBA student.

Most of these parties fall into the grey area of The Public Gambling Act, where the gambling parties take place in residential houses where the house owner is not paid commission for using his premises, thereby escaping the definition of a ‘gaming house.’

From small card parties with only 2-3 persons and stakes as low as Rs 500-1,000 in an evening to bigger ones comprising over 50 guests and lakhs of rupees on the table, card parties, even though illegal, are an essential part of pre-Diwali celebrations. Chance-oriented games like teen patti, poker, blackjack, casino war and baccarat are steadily gaining steam at these parties. Swept by the revelry, most party-goers empty their wallets or exceed their budget for the night.

“Strictly speaking, all card games which are chance-oriented and where exchange of money takes place on winning constitute gambling games. However, if there is no ‘show-money’ on the table and it is not a public place or a gaming house, chances of prosecution are slim. Police can only act if there is some previous information of gambling, but cannot barge into residential houses at random. With hundreds of card parties going on within the confines of houses in the city, police is unable to swoop in on these parties. Arrests have been made in cases where such parties take place in gaming houses,” said a senior police officer under the condition of anonymity.

However, for the past one week, card parties have mushroomed in the city, especially at the south Delhi farmhouses. Here, stakes as high as Rs 5 lakh are placed as a starting amount. “There is no thrill without big money. Card tables start from Rs 10,000 to run into lakhs. Everyone plays according to how high they want to bet. Some get really lucky while others suffer major losses. But this is a time we look forward to all year round. You can have a really bad run for a week – and then get lucky on a single night. That’s why people keep coming back – it’s addictive,” said Pawan, a businessman.

Article Source: The Times of India

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