Visakhapatnam: Police arrest six for playing poker illegally, seize Rs 88,950

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A team of police officials in Visakhapatnam raided a hotel room at GVK Inn in Seethammadhara for suspicion of illegal gambling activities and arrested six individuals who were allegedly playing poker.

The raid was conducted after receiving a tip-off, working on which commissioner of police Ravi Shankar and additional commissioner of police Nagendra raided the premises with assistant commissioner of police Trinath Rao and police officials.

As per Deccan Chronicle, the police seized a total of Rs 88,950 in cash along with six cellphones, and a set of playing cards from everyone’s possession. All six individuals are being investigated for their involvement in illegal gambling activities.

While playing poker is not illegal by any means, poker and online poker are one of the most popular card games in legal casinos or on online real money gaming platforms. However, setting up a shop without necessary permits from authorities or registration is illegal.

This has further created a bad reputation for poker as many people get duped into playing it at illegal and unregulated establishments, sometimes ending up losing huge sums of money due to rigged games. This diminishes people’s confidence in even legal poker tournaments.

Increased GST rate adds another entry barrier

The GST Council earlier this year decided to increase the GST rate to 28% on full face value for all online real money gaming platforms. This means that players will now pay the GST on the full amount deposited by them.

Previously, this value was 18% of gross gaming revenue, meaning that the tax was levied on the amount left after the conclusion of a contest. The changes are believed to force people to refrain from playing online games on legal platforms less frequently, and potentially, switch to illegal offshore gambling websites.