VISAKHAPATNAM: As the IPL season is all set to kickstart on Saturday, task force police have geared up to tackle online betting in the city. Every year, a number of cases are reported from Vizag where betting gangs try to evade police by using various methods, making maximum use of technology. As local organisers are being targetted by police, gangs from East Godavari, West Godavari, Prakasam and a few other districts are settling down in Vizag to run bettings. Following are various methods used by organisers in the past:
Organised betting in apartments/flats:
Local organisers or outsiders mostly from East, West Godavari districts settle down in a flat/apartment as tenants just a week or a month before the IPL season kickstarts. The organisers maintain a ICB- ‘Integrated Connectivity Boxes’ (looks like a large suitcase) which has multi-connectivity boxes (MCB). Basically an ICB contains about 60 MCBs or lines with 60 mobile phones. The organiser will have main mike with him and his comments on the betting will be received by every punter who is connected. The organiser uses laptop with high speed net connection and a TV to check out scores and live updates of match. Each line can further have more connections on the other side. A couple of persons will be on the job of registering scores in the list in detailed manner.
Static betting using vehicles
As organsied bettings are targetted by police using credible information, organisers have been coming up with mobile betting by moving from one place to another in posh vehicles. A group of organisers hire a car, mostly a big one, where they would be using ‘Integrated Connectivity Boxes (ICB). He communicates again using the same method with the punters. In some cases or if punters are small, the organisers make use of laptops, cell phones to connect among themselves. The organisers move to the city outskirts like Bheemili, Anandapuram, Parawada and Tagarapuvalasa. Police say that the problem with this modus operandi is that the organisers do not stay constantly at one place. The police get the cell phone location using towers as well as longitude-latitude measures, but when the police team reaches the area, the organisers would have out of that place.
As the city areas are completely brought under security blanket following raids on apartments and individual houses, organisers selected shelters, thatched houses, even mango or cashew orchards between Vizag and Vizianagaram as venues for the cricket betting in the region in the past. The police say that all the organisers need is laptops with net connectivity, mobile phones and some aides. In such cases, the organisers deploy some people at the entrance of village or even shopkeepers in the village, to alert them of police presence.
Betting apps have become a headache for police. With smartphones all over, a number of students and even educated people are going for betting. Though the betting in such apps take place with small stakes, police opine that a number of students have got addicted to it. Police say that such betting apps are allowed in some foreign countries but not in India. But various softwares have the apps using playstores. Cops also add that it’s the responsibility of parents to take care of their children making sure that they do not indulge in such things.
Police found that several youngsters, including college students, indulge in bettings at Bars, houses, clubs and dhabas instantly.