Clubs are meant for recreation, but of late they are ruining families. Tuesday's incident of an alleged gambler falling to death from a building at Country Club is indicative of the disastrous impact of allowing gambling activities on club premises. And expectedly, the police remained a mute spectator for obvious reasons.

Some time ago, police had cracked down on these gambling joints, which are run under the garb of recreation clubs, but had now allowed them to organise gambling surreptitiously.

These clubs are money spinners for the managements, who enjoy political patronage. With such clubs functioning without any hindrance, gamblers lose money and slip into a vortex of debts.

The death of K.M. Srinivasa Rao at Country Club is said to be one such sad example though police claim they are yet to ascertain facts in the specific case. Minutes after news of Rao's death broke, hundreds of persons playing games of cards in Country Club hurried out.

Addiction

The Punjagutta police went on record that some floors of the five-storeyed building, from which Rao fell and died, were meant to facilitate playing card games. “So addicted are the gamblers that they don't go home for lunch or dinner. Liquor is also served to them,” says Srinivas of Bowenpally, who operated club earlier.

While gamblers with high income go to top clubs, those coming from middle or lower class families join ordinary clubs which are run only to organise games of cards. “Persons having right connections with powerful politicians or official circles distribute money and operate the centres openly but take cover under masks of clubs,” Mr. Srinivas said.

It is no secret that card games are organised and allowed in at least ten top clubs located in Begumpet, Punjagutta, Bowenpally, Mehdipatnam and Malakpet. Everything works off record here.

The clubs secure permission for allowing playing of ‘Rummy game', which legally speaking is not a game of chance and hence does not come under the purview of the gambling prohibition Act.

High stakes

However, considering the huge betting involved in Rummy games, there is every possibility of the gambler losing everything in a day. So profitable and unpredictable are these games that these clubs are haunted by money lenders who loan money at exorbitant interest rates to gamblers who pawn everything they have – from vehicles to gold rings.

To make the punter feel at home, the organisers arrange from snacks to lunch and dinner to liquor, to cigarettes at the club. It is surprising that police had cracked down on orchestra bars in city but are silent on allowing games of cards in clubs.