India has been toughening its stance on poker, which still fluctuates between a game of skill and a game of chance. Gambling raids continue.
Mumbai police forces responded to a signal about an illegal gambling den and moved in at the Sea Princess Hotel located at Juhu Beach. Following the operation, a total of 133 people were apprehended, including well-established names in the public life of the country.
According to local sources, the five-star property has been hosting a number of gambling-related games, including poker. The whistleblower, as per local reports, is one Musa Shaikh, who is a known social activist.
Arrests were carried out and the detained people were of varying age, ethnicity, and gender. According to the reports, the people who are detained are related to known personalities in India, such as filmmakers, political leaders, entrepreneurs, and others.
This has not been the first spate of arrests either. In a similar case on November 5, police entered the Vishal Enclave at Delhi’s Rajouri garden, leading to the arrest of 100 people. People were detained with a total of $30,000 in ready money and $250,000 of play chips.
Poker has also been falling under the hits of the police force. Tips for running card rooms have resulted in hundreds of arrests. Most notably, Kara Mutha, one of poker’s strongest proponents in India, is now facing trial over failing to comply with a previous court order stemming from his failure to appear in front of court as requested related to his 2016 arrest.
To flesh out the details here, Kara Mutha was arrested playing poker in 2016 at what was an illegal card room. As a result, he and the people he was found in the company of were going to receive varying sentences.
Mutha failed to appear at a hearing in June, which led to seek his arrest again. He was released at the beginning of October, 2018. Meanwhile, Mr. Mutha has been trying to legalize poker in India.
He has successfully managed place a petition a judge has finally agreed to debate upon. Justice Mukta Gupta expected Mr. Mutha last Thursday, November 1. However, Mr. Mutha willow have to go and face trial over his absenteeism back in June, so his lawyer has requested the withdrawal of the petition.
The debate about poker in India has been an ongoing one. Most notably, the game has not been allowed in privately organized settings whereas tournament hosts and leagues have emerged with the blood and sweat of local proponents.
Most notably, India has its Matched Poker League (MPL) and players have been flown around to the World Series of Poker (WSOP) after winning qualifying competitions and to similar events in Australia.
While Diwali has been less festive about the 133 people detained in the latest raid, websites such as India’s Poker Lion have decided to ride the holiday full on and provide exclusive bonuses to their poker players.
The Indian poker landscape is also changing and despite the arrests, things are looking up.