Vijayawada

Gamblers cross borders for a game of cards

Government ban has pushed them to Bengaluru and Chennai in search of clubs

Within days of Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy becoming the Chief Minister, gambling was banned in all clubs across the State. Though there was no official order from the government, clubs fell in line without much resistance. Sans card and tables guess where punters are heading? Clubs in Bengaluru and Chennai have now become the new destination of these diehard gamers. They are not minding to fly as air fares are within their budgets, and clubs there are offering accommodation to their outstation guests.

“Many retired men or businessmen are used to playing a game of Rummy after a day’s work. After the clubs banned gambling, they are flying to Bengaluru or Chennai. Earlier, they used to rent a flat or a guest house. But since police surveillance has increased, they are heading to other towns,” said a former secretary of a popular city club.

Guntur, a known trading and cultural hub, has a legacy of over a century-old club culture which encouraged sports, libraries and philanthropic activities. North Club on Pattabhipuram Road, which was started by a group of well-known advocates, has tennis courts, indoor badminton courts.

LVR & Sons Club and Reading Room, on the Koretipadu Road, was also started in the year 1898 with the intention of providing some recreation to businessmen. The club has a rich legacy of hosting major Snooker, Tennis and Carrom tournaments.

Other games too

Guntur Club on the Palakaluru Road, has some of the best sporting facilities, including indoor badminton courts, swimming pool and a gymnasium.

The Capital Cultural Club in Dachepalli, was in the news for all the wrong reasons, as the club used to draw punters from Hyderabad and from other cities. After a much public resistance, the clubs were forced to shut.

Rummy recreation

Though gambling is banned as per law, most clubs have been citing a High Court order which has allowed ‘Rummy’, in recreation clubs. Though transaction in cash is banned, members could buy tokens and play a game of cards.

Most of the clubs follow an 80 points system (full count) for Rummy. The wager for one point could range anything between ₹ 100-10,000. If the wager is ₹ 100 for a point, a player showing full count would have to pay ₹ 8,000 get (₹100 X 80).

High (stakes) tables

Depending on the stakes, members could choose to be part of deluxe clubs where stakes are much higher.

But during the last 20 years, these clubs have been in the news for the wrong reasons. Except for some sporadic police raids, most of the clubs continue to allow gambling even as police turn a blind eye.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 8:39:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/gamblers-cross-borders-for-a-game-of-cards/article29933920.ece

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