Diwali gamblers heading to dens

Diwali gamblers heading to dens

Diwali time gambling involving lakhs of rupees in stakes appears to be on an upswing in the city despite the law-enforcers’ best efforts to keep tabs.

In south, north and south-west areas, the upscale farm houses and restaurants are serving as makeshift gambling dens where card players spend days and nights without interruption.

Sunita Bamrara, vice president of the Resident Welfare Association of Mehrauli, said: “Executives from the hospitality sector, politicians and builders are organising gambling parties in farmhouses and residential areas.”

Bamrara said: “A number of farmhouse, pub, and discotheque owners are renting out their premises to gamblers on hourly basis.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-West Delhi) Suman Goyal said around Diwali there tends to be a spur in gambling, but strict measures have been taken to curb it.

“Special police teams have been formed across the city to run a drive to prevent gambling,” she said.

Hideouts being raided

“In my district, I have told officials to deal with such illegal activities strictly. We are raiding hideouts and checking history-sheeters who have been involved in organised gambling,” added Goyal.

Sources said an hotel with a rooftop dancing floor on the Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road and a farmhouse near Mehrauli village are charging for reserving gambling spaces against advance money ranging from Rs 6,000-10,000.

“A daily entry fee of Rs 2,000 per gambler is also being charged for entering into suites that can accommodates up to 25 people,” said a Mahipalpur resident. To avoid any trouble during checks, the gamblers are also employing money-less methods for accepting bets.

“No currency would be visible on the gambling table. Rather, the play would go on through “counters” (plastic coins), having different values,” said a private restaurant employee, who did not wish to be named.

As per the sources, gambling starts at least a month before Diwali and during the entire season transactions worth crores of rupees take place. Women’s kitty parties also used for big-time gambling by players from high-heeled families.

“Such all-women parties are usually held at the home of any of the member of the group,” said a businesswoman from Vasant Kunj, who did not wish to be named.