Increasing gambling related incidents highlight the need for medical attention

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A 20-year-old youth from Warangal district of Telangana lost Rs 46,000 in a single session on an online betting game early on Saturday. According to reports, distressed on losing the amount, the victim a second-year ITI student from Narsampet commited suicide. The victim used his mother’s phone to place bets in the online game as it was linked to her bank account.

In another similar incident from the neighbouring Andhra, a student spent two lakh fifty thousand rupees meant for college fees on online gambling. The young girl ended life after parents scolding her for losing the money.

These two are among the many incidents involving youth and real money games in recent times from the Telugu states where all kinds of gaming for stakes are banned.

In recent times, there has also been a disturbing trend in the Telugu states, where several families are falling into the debt trap or losing money due to illegal gambling apps.

One such incident happened near Hyderabad in January 2023, when a youth addicted to gambling emptied nearly one crore from his father’s account. The amount was deposited by Telangana government as compensation for land acquisition.

The Saturday’s incidents are few in the series of incidents where youth have lost money or lives due to illegal gambling applications.

In many incidents in Telangana and Andhra, youth primarily of age group below 30 have become debt ridden due to offshore gambling websites. Telugus are traditionally known as heavy spenders in gambling circles including in Goa.

The growing incidents highlight need for medical attention among young adults who are primary target of these gambling websites.

“It is imperative to recognise online gambling addiction as a medical condition and seek professional help, particularly when individuals have faced adverse outcomes,” according to Dr. Mahadevan of NIMHANS.

Gambling addict bank employees siphoning off money from depositors, youth faking their own kidnapping for ransom, robbery and finally killing dear ones or ending own lives, online gamblers have been pushed to extremes in recent times.