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Arrests show that banned gambling apps are still active

Bengaluru: Betting apps may be banned, but they haven’t disappeared. The recent arrest of four people – on April 2 and 16 – from the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru during RCB’s IPL matches shows that these apps have managed to circumvent the ban, further underscoring the need for better enforcement.

The arrests reveal that banned gambling apps and websites have managed to resurface online under pseudonyms after the Center enforced a ban on hundreds of gambling apps in 2023.

These apps and websites offer a ball-to-ball betting option: a bettor must place a bid and predict the outcome of a ball before it is delivered. The outcome of the ball will be released as soon as it is broadcast.

In general, the broadcast of a match is delayed by an average of 15 to 30 seconds, depending on the different broadcasters. This is exploited by punters who sit in the stadium and have access to the outcome in real time, giving them an advantage in making the correct bid.

While four members have been arrested so far – identified as Sanjeev Kumar, 21, Pavan K, 28, both from Bengaluru; Manish, 30, from New Delhi; and Sameer Khan, 25, from Madhya Pradesh – a senior police officer told DH that there is a possibility of more gamblers going unnoticed.

A senior police officer, who is part of Bengaluru’s Central Crime Branch (CCB), said these apps work in different ways. In a few apps, a gambler can purchase coins of different denominations in the app itself and gamble throughout the match, he said, adding that these coins can later be re-deposited to receive real money into a registered bank account.

Some other apps allow gamblers to transfer money to online wallets facilitated by the app and gamble with it. Later, the money in the wallet can be converted to original bank accounts or used to purchase coupons.

Shekhar H Tekkannavar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Central Division, said the department is keeping a close eye on such gamblers.

More than 1,200 police officers are deputed for each match for security reasons. These officers operate under the command of two DCP officers and 20 to 30 Assistant Commissioners of Police (ACP).

According to Tekkanavar, each stand is manned by 3 to 4 police officers in plain clothes.

How do these apps resurface?

According to a senior CB official, the developers of such apps and websites rearrange the letters in the actual name of the app or add some punctuation marks and restart.

In most cases, these apps are made available on the Internet in the form of APKs, or simply offer gambling through dubious websites. With the arrest of four members in Bengaluru, police have identified three apps and websites: 95BET, Gold365.site and Laser247.com.

Highlights – Modus operandi Betting apps and websites offer the option of ball-to-ball betting during matches. A gambler must place a bid and predict the outcome of a ball before it is delivered; outcome of the ball is released once it has been broadcast. When the broadcast of a match is delayed by 15 to 30 seconds, punters sitting in the stadium have an advantage in making the correct bid

According to a senior CCB official, developers of gambling apps and websites rearrange the letters in the actual name of the app or add some punctuation marks and restart. In most cases, these apps are made available on the Internet in the form of APKs or simply offer gambling through dubious websites. With the arrest of four members in Bengaluru, police have identified three apps and websites: 95BET, Gold365.site and Laser247.com.

(Published April 21, 2024, 1:00 am IST)