Telugu youth fall into debt trap due to illegal gambling websites

Published on:

In recent times, there has 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, 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.

In another incident in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, an youth went underground due to gambling debt, with creditors pressurising his father to cough up upto thirth lakhs.

In many incidents, 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.

With the proliferation of smartphones and easy access to the internet, young people have become addicted to online gambling, leading to severe financial distress for themselves and their families. The rampant advertising by well known celebrities also creates a trust factor on legality.

In another incident in Hyderabad, a youth lost nearly eight lakh in this IPL season 2023. This list can go on.

Unlike traditional gaming houses where police easily identify organisers, it is difficult to identify and initiate action against the organisers of offshore betting websites. Moreover, the use of cryptocurrencies and anonymous payment methods makes it difficult to trace the origin of the funds, making it easy to evade legal scrutiny.

All kinds of gaming for stakes are prohibited in both the States. Telangana enacted a prohibition law in 2017 while Andhra Pradesh enacted a similar law in 2020. But the laws are not effectively implemented.

Another factor that contributes to the popularity of online gambling is the thrill of instant gratification. In a fast-paced world, especially as after effect of Covid19, where everything is available at the touch of a button, young people are attracted to the quick rewards offered by online gambling. The promise of easy money, coupled with the social validation of winning, makes it difficult for youth to resist the temptation.

To tackle this problem, there is a need for a multi-pronged approach. There is a need for increased awareness campaigns to educate young people and their families about the dangers of online gambling. This could be done through social media campaigns, school programs, and public service announcements. The focus should be on building resilience and coping mechanisms to deal with stress and anxiety, rather than relying on quick fixes. Further, sensitization activities must be undertaken for celebrities so that they don’t promote illegal platforms.

Finally, there is a need for counseling and support services for those who have already fallen into the debt trap. Debt counseling, financial planning, and therapy services could go a long way in helping individuals and families recover from the financial and emotional trauma caused by online gambling.