The Voice of Sikkim reported that activist Noel Sharma channeled his inner Jesus Christ as he hurled and kicked the hoarding of Golden Gaming Company for running a FIFA World Cup 2018 betting operation in a public marketplace.
Several people and children witnessed how Sharma unleashed his brute force as he vandalized Golden Gaming’s stall, which had been allegedly luring customers to gamble via a darts game where they could strike the flag of the country they think will win the 2018 World Cup.
The company reportedly offered a Rs 1,000 (US$14.80) coupon for those who visit their three licensed betting venues, according to Sharma.
Gangtok Municipal Corporation, which oversees gambling in the area, pointed out that Golden Gaming didn’t have a permit to facilitate sports betting in the marketplace, only a permit to put up a stall to promote the World Cup.
Taking matters into his hands, the activist confronted the people running the stall regarding their permit, then went on a frenzied rage after he didn’t get the answer he was looking for.
Golden Gaming filed a vandalism complaint against Sharma and his alleged cohort, Pushkar Pandey, with Sadar Police, who acted swiftly and arrested the duo.
Sharma and Pandey have decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike to protest the prevalence of gambling and online betting in Sikkim. Sharma claimed that Sikkim is burdened with serious social issues like gambling.
With less than two days before the World Cup 2018 kicks off, gaming regulators across the globe have launched crackdowns on illegal sports betting.
In Asia alone, there were numerous reports of authorities busting criminal syndicates that were using online and mobile platforms to place bets. Gaming analysts forecast that worldwide illegal betting this year may top the previous record during the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil due to the close proximity of Russia and its time zones with countries in the Asia region.