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Aditya Khurana (name changed) is a 24-year-old boy, who has no inclination towards education or his huge family business. However, this young lad, who hails from a well-known business family of Nagpur, is habituated to something, which has not only destroyed his family name, but has also put his life in danger many a time. Aditya likes betting on cricket matches, in spite of the severe problematic situations this act of gambling has put him into. Shockingly, Aditya is not alone on this path of self-destruction! There are several youngsters like him in the city, who are heavily involved into regular betting. So much so, that betting has become an addiction and a way of life for them!
Nation Next spoke to a few young betting addicts of Nagpur, who narrated the horrifying tales of their betting addiction. We’ve changed the names of the betting addicts mentioned in this story as all of them spoke to us on the condition of anonymity.
I win, I play! I lose, I play!
A person who’s not involved into betting may think that people bet just to make money. Well, there's more to it. Shockingly, most of these betting addicts come from affluent families, and they get hefty pocket monies from their parents. They bet not only to make money, but also because of the high they get out of the process of betting. “When I win, I bet more out of the excitement to win further. When I lose, I bet even more to recover the lost amount. Either ways, the excitement continues,” says Deepak Arora (name changed), a 25-year-old student, whose father is a senior government officer in Nagpur. Rahul Narang (name changed), another 25-year-old, who comes from a prominent business family of the city, won Rs 10 lakhs by fluke, when he bet for the first time, some five years back. Since then, betting has become his primary occupation.
Full-time into betting
Contrary to the popular perception, betting in Nagpur is not just confined to cricket. Twenty six years old Prem Mishra (name changed), who’s into fulltime betting, started with betting on cricket, but later he also started betting on other sports like football and lawn tennis. In fact, Prem has drawn himself so deep into the betting addiction that he flies to Goa, especially to gamble at casinos there, when there are no major sport events taking place. He needs his regular dose of gambling, come what may.
For 30-year-old cloth merchant Gaurav Khanna (name changed), his business became secondary when he got hooked on betting. To satiate his betting urge, Gaurav has almost quit his flourishing business, which is now being taken care of by his father.
Losses galore; low on life
While Aditya has lost around eight crore rupees in betting in the last five years, Gaurav's debts have big time eaten into his business. Apart from incurring heavy monetary losses, these addicts have lost their career prospects, mental peace and a lot more in life because of betting. Despite being a bright student, Rahul hasn't been able to even finish his graduation till date because of his round-the-clock involvement in betting. After Aditya was caught stealing jewellery (for betting) from his parents' closet, he lost the trust of his family.
Betting has caused most of these youngsters to lead a life full of fear and insecurity. Unlike his peers, Aditya doesn't have any social media account as he’s extra cautious about not letting his whereabouts known to his creditors. He doesn’t allow his friends to click selfies with him because he’s scared of his pictures being put in public domain. Gaurav too has isolated himself from his friends to avoid his creditors. In what can be called a narrow escape from death, Aditya was even badly bashed up by the goons of a bookie, to whom he owed money.
Also read: This is how Nagpur looked once upon a time!
The biggest worry is that this betting addiction is being infectiously spread to the younger siblings and friends of these addicts. Happy Singh (name changed), a 22-year-old boy started betting in his teenage due to peer pressure and slowly got addicted to it. Unfortunately, following his footsteps, Happy's teenaged siblings have also got into the bad world of betting!
Don’t be on the wrong side of the law, warns Police
When we spoke to DCP Crime Branch, Nagpur, Nilesh Bharne, he said, “To eradicate betting malaise from the city, Nagpur Police are coming down heavily on the bookies. We are quite vigilant and are acting swiftly on the tip-offs. We've activated helpline numbers across Nagpur so that people can inform us immediately about any betting going on. We even plan to circulate the helpline number through press notes. We won't spare anyone found indulging in illegal betting activities. I assure you, we'll track the betting addicts within 10 minutes of getting informed."