Online Gambling Raids in Goa Lead to Arrests of Russian, Ukrainian Nationals

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Posted on: September 21, 2022, 12:13h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 12:29h.

Police in Goa, India, upset an illegal gambling operation Wednesday that could have far-reaching implications. While raiding a commercial space in the village of Mandrem, they uncovered an online gambling outfit that included Russian and Ukrainian participants.

Goa police
A Goa police vehicle at a traffic control point. Police in the Indian state recently cracked down on illegal gambling operations they uncovered through anonymous tips. (Image: India.com)

The Goa police crime branch, responding to an anonymous tip, paid a surprise visit to a rented commercial space in the village. There, they discovered five people playing Texas Hold’em for money.

They weren’t just entertaining themselves with a friendly game of poker, however. They reportedly ran an online gambling website which will now be dissected by forensics experts.

Know When to Fold’em

As part of the raid, police arrested five people. One was from Delhi and another from Mumbai, but there were also two Russians and one Ukrainian.

Gambling, for the most part, is illegal in India. The topic is routinely brought up for debate, and the results are polarizing. The country tries to create separation between games of skill and games of chance, but doesn’t always get the definitions correct.

India defines poker as a game of luck that requires no skill. If this were the case, poker pros like Phil Hellmuth, Vanessa Selbst, and others wouldn’t have the success they have had. Hellmuth is the current record-holder for WSOP bracelets, with 16, and has made 64 WSOP final table appearances.

States in the country have also been able to formulate their own gambling laws. Goa is one of the few states to have legalized casinos. The other two are Sikkim and Daman.

Goa also allows online gambling but, like elsewhere, only through licensed platforms. This wasn’t the case with the group they found Wednesday.

This was the second bust in as many days. On Tuesday, police raided an apartment in the village of Calangute and arrested four people who were operating an online gambling site. Between the two raids, police seized approximately $3,126.

While notable, neither bust was as big as one from August. In that raid, the police arrested 21 people managing an illegal online gambling site out of a rented apartment in Janakpuri in Delhi.

Despite the surprise raid, one of the suspects managed to flee. He didn’t get away with any money, though, as police reportedly seized around $17,500 at the scene.

Online Gambling Regs Advance

A government panel recently released a draft that proposes the establishment of a regulatory framework for online gambling in India, according to Reuters. It recommends stricter rules against online gambling.

It also recommends the creation of a regulatory body to distinguish games based on luck and those that require skills. In addition, the new regulations would clearly define which gaming formats fall into which category.

The report suggests that the government should think about implementing separate laws to regulate online gambling as a “long-term measure.” Understanding that what it suggests is not an easy task, the report recommends putting the online gambling segment under the management of existing IT laws, which govern all forms of eCommerce.

There will be those who argue against the measure in an effort to ban all forms of gambling in the country. There is a constant struggle over the “evils” of gambling, although sometimes, incidents occur that help them gather support.

This is the case in New Delhi. Police there arrested two teenagers – 13 and 15 – following an attack on a local man, according to NDTV. They are now looking at murder charges after beating him to death with pipes and bricks and stabbing him.

It was all because he wouldn’t give them about $2.50, which they demanded so that they could gamble. A third accomplice is still on the run.



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