Ahmedabad’s cybercrime police have achieved a milestone in their fight against gambling by registering the state’s first case of live online gambling. The crackdown led to the arrest of eight individuals, including the alleged mastermind, during a raid in the Madhavpura area of the city on a Sunday.
The illicit operation, coordinated through a mobile app, aimed to dodge the challenges of running physical gambling dens by employing a live streaming setup accessible to anyone with an internet connection across Gujarat.
According to BD Bhatt, Police Inspector of Ahmedabad’s cybercrime police station, the accused used the app for live online gambling to avoid the risk of police raids on traditional gambling establishments, reported Free Press Journal. The app, designed for live streaming, was closely monitored by law enforcement authorities.
Acting on a tip-off, the police focused their attention on Usmangali, believed to be the central figure behind the app’s operations. The subsequent raid unveiled a mobile phone mounted on a tripod, broadcasting the live gambling activities to its users.
Bhatt revealed that entry to the app was restricted, with Usmangali charging an initial fee of ₹10,000, which also served as the player’s virtual gambling balance. For smaller amounts, players could transfer money online, but for larger sums, Usmangali reportedly dispatched his associates to physically place bets on behalf of the players.
The authorities view this online format as an attempt to evade detection during conventional police raids. The cybercrime unit’s vigilance, however, resulted in a successful bust of the live online gambling racket.
“This marks a significant development in our fight against gambling,” emphasised Bhatt. “The internet opens up new avenues for criminal activity, and we are constantly adapting our strategies to combat these emerging threats.”
The ongoing investigation is focused on determining the app’s development details and the extent of its user base. The arrested individuals now face charges under relevant sections of the Public Gambling Act and the Information Technology Act for operating an illegal online gambling platform.