The annual gambling season in Ganjam district and Berhampur is already on with people of all ages testing out their luck during the festive season.

Gambling during the festive Puja season till the Kumarpurnima festival is an almost compulsive ritualistic practice among many in this area. Goddess Laxmi is worshipped on the day of Kumarpurnima in Odisha which falls on Oct 18. As per the elders like Saudamini Dei, there is traditional belief that one who does not gamble during this time is destined to be reborn as an owl in his next birth.

Clandestine gambling dens start operating during this period. Children also get together at street corners to gamble with low stakes. Police prefer to shut down its eyes except when gambling takes slight professional form and becomes threat for law and order. ‘How can we stop this vice when people out of traditional practice provide money to their son-in-laws and children to gamble,” said a senior police officer.

But raids by the police on clandestine gambling dens have started in Berhampur as well as parts of Ganjam district.

Every other day some gamblers are getting arrested, but it is only the tip of the iceberg. On Tuesday night a gambling den operating at a house at housing board colony in Berhampur had been raided by personnel of Gosaninuagaon police station. Eight gamblers had been arrested from the spot. Nine gamblers were arrested from a gambling den at Jagdalpur under Berhampur Sadar police station.

Although people at times lose large chunk of their savings during this festive period of gambling yet no one has any guilt towards it.