Gambling in India: busts, threats of busts, and busty Poonam Pandey strips off

TAGs: cricket, Goa, India, Poonam Pandey

india-poonam-pandeyPolice in the Indian city of Hyderabad have busted an illegal cricket betting operation. Three Indian bookies are in custody, along with three laptops, 30 mobile phones, four portable tape recorders, a television set and Rs 59,500 in cash. The bookies reportedly confessed to handling 25 lakh (Rs 2.5m = €36k) in wagers over the past week. While the amount seized may seem minimal, police say Hyderabad is fast becoming the illegal betting hub of India, processing Rs 10b (€145m) during the last Cricket World Cup season. The gambling outfit’s ringleader, Venu Gopal Sharma, was known on the street as ‘Idli Venu’ because he used to sell savory cakes known as idlis from a pushcart. Gambling: lifting third world entrepreneurs out of poverty for centuries!

The Indian state of Goa is one of only two in the country (the other being Sikkim) that permits gambling via a mix of land-based and ‘offshore’ casinos aboard ships floating on the Mandovi River. The Times of India reports that a local social activist has sicced police on gambling operators for allegedly ‘indulging in promotion of gambling through advertising material’ — a supposed breach of gambling laws. In response, Goa Coastal Resorts’ Shrinivas Nayak has essentially said ‘bollocks’, pointing to amendments to the gambling laws that permit licensed operators to do just that. Moreover, Nayak pointed out that operators “pay more than 5 crore [Rs 50m or €727k] per annum to the state by way of annual fees and recurring fees. If we don’t advertise, we may not be able to recover our investments and carry on with our business.”

Speaking of carrying on, Indian model and Fear Factor contestant Poonam Pandey, who offered to strip naked in front of a stadium full of cricket fans if India won the 2011 Cricket World Cup, has parlayed that bit of attention-grabbing into a deal with an online gaming company. While details are sketchy, Pandey will apparently feature prominently in a cashless strip poker game for Android and iOS mobile users. Pandey herself said: “Yes, I have signed a contract with an American company. It is like the famous [Indian card game] Teen Patti. As the player starts clearing various levels of the game, I will start stripping. I don’t mind stripping, but to what stage I will be doing it, I can’t say that now.” Deal us in…



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