The Mumbai police, over the past year, have found increasing instances of servers of online gaming parlours being based in Dubai. The trend has now prompted the police to probe whether established bookies are running these rackets from Dubai, known to be a hub for them.
“We think Internet gambling is a new trend picking up with gamblers. Such players are also difficult to trace and apprehend as they can gamble from the comfort of their homes using their computers,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Enforcement) Pravin Patil.
Of the 273 cases registered under the Gambling Act this year, six cases were of Internet gambling. Last year, the police had registered 60 cases, with not a single case of Internet gambling.
The police have also identified nearly 300 cyber cafes and gaming centres that allegedly provide IDs to gamblers, using which they can log in to a virtual casino from anywhere. The police said the servers of all these online casinos are based in Dubai.
“We had zeroed in on a few servers in Dubai and blocked them, but other servers sprang up within days,” said Patil.
Patil explained that owners of cyber cafes act as ‘dealers’ and provide log-in IDs and passwords to gamblers for anything between Rs 20,000-30,000. Each dealer handles around 20-30 such gamblers, and deals in bets worth Rs 5-6 crore a year.
The Social Service Branch, in collaboration with the Cyber Crime Investigation Cell of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch, is tracking the Call Data Records of the dealers arrested in Mumbai to find out the identities of those operating these casinos from Dubai. Police sources said bookies on record are the main suspects.