Over 40 online gambling websites are actively operating in Goa, promoting the illegal trade through huge hoarding that dot the highways and remitting money through hawala channels, Adv Diya Shetkar, President of the Goa Citizen”s Action Forum (GCAF) told media persons in Panaji today.
Speaking to reporters, Shetkar said: “These gambling websites are completely illegal. They are registered and based abroad, but use the internet to operate in Goa. They have put up huge advertisements all over Goa and at least 10-12 huge hoardings promoting online gambling are prominently visible all over Goa along the main arterial routes. These websites violate RBI, FEMA and other gambling laws. They are illegal and are luring our youth with the lucre of easy money. They use online transfer intermediaries like Paypal in some cases particularly for small amounts, but in most cases use the hawala route. Hundreds of Goan youth have got addicted to this online gambling rackets, that promise huge returns on betting games.”
“I want to ask the Government of Goa as to how these online gambling websites are allowed to put up huge outdoor hoardings and advertisements in Goa. Do they have the requisite licenses. While alcohol advertising is banned in India, how is it that gambling sites are allowed to advertise openly. I do not want to mention the names of these websites, as it would mean giving them indirect publicity, but the hoardings can be seen by everyone in the State.”
These online gambling websites do an approximate business of Rs one crore per month, Shetkar said. This works out to Rs 12 to 15 crore annually from Goa alone. The government is losing revenue, as the websites do not pay any revenue or taxes to the government and yet do their business in Goa.
The Goa Citizens’ Action Forum has sent a written complaint to the Goa DGPs office as well as the Goa Cyber Crime Cell requesting the registration of an FIR against all the online gambling websites which are operating in Goa and openly advertising gambling in the State.