In a recent development, the SPiCE India event which was supposed to be held in Goa, will now take place at Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Society Against Gambling Trust (SAG) has raised concerns about the upcoming Strategic Platform for iGaming Conference & Exhibition India (SPiCE) event scheduled to take place from February 27-29, 2024, in Goa. The Hong Kong-based company Eventus International is hosting the event, which has garnered attention due to its major sponsors, including banned illegal betting and gambling platforms such as 1XBet, Mega Pari, Melbet, All Bet, and DST Gaming, among others.
SAG, an organization working to raise awareness against the adverse impacts of betting and gambling, had addressed a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to intervene and prevent the participation of these illegal platforms in the SPiCE event. The letter highlighted the socio-economic issues faced by the youth of the country due to their involvement in illegal gambling activities.
The objection raised by SAG points out that the illegal betting and gambling platforms, traditionally limited to providing betting services, are now expanding their influence by organizing events to reach wider audiences. The SPiCE event, according to the letter, was expected to include individuals paid to promote these illegal platforms to unsuspecting attendees.
Major sponsors of the SPiCE event, as mentioned in the letter, are platforms banned in India, raising concerns about the event’s association with illegal activities. SAG had specifically named Yudi Soetjiptadi, Lou-Mari Burnett, Josh Blom, and other organizers, expressing concern about their potential presence at the event. The trust had requested the intervention of the Home Ministry, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), and immigration authorities to prevent their entry into the country or detain them upon arrival.
Additionally, SAG had called for appropriate action against the local organizers of the event and urged authorities to curb illegal betting platforms that launder proceeds of crime from hosting similar events in the future.
In response to the mounting controversy and potential legal implications, the organizers, Eventus International, have decided to relocate the SPiCE India event to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The newly named SPiCE India & Sri Lanka Merger is now scheduled to take place from February 26 to 28, 2024, at the Shangri-La Colombo Hotel.