Poker industry has yet again raised call to have a regulator for the sport following the news that a 39-year debt-ridden player in Saurashtra, West Gujarat, committed suicide after losing ₹78 lakh in online poker.
Poker Sports League CEO, co-founder, and architect Pranav Bagai has emphasized the need for a regulator for better education of players and governance of the industry.
“Since the industry is not regulated properly, all the issues which persist are discussed on social media platforms and then swept under the carpet. When there is no regulators right education and right knowledge do not come out,” Bagai told insideSport.co.
A lack of regulatory and governing body becomes more glaring when the news comes that a man ridden in debt due to losses in poker had committed suicide in Saurashtra. Gujarat, according to industry sources, is geo-blocked by poker websites as the State did not allow online poker.
This in the case of the player’s suicide itself hints at a bigger violation than the poker website’s moral and professional responsibility to educate players.
Any access to online poker in Gujarat is illegitimate as per the State rules pointed out by the industry source. That hints at the bigger flaws than catching the eye in the suicide of the 38-year old. A regulatory body in such a scenario shall serve as an instrument to put much-needed checks and balances in place.
Education of poker players is important not just in terms of adding to their skills, but also to help them restrain themselves from unrealistic earning goals and unaffordable bids.
Krunal Mehta, the 39-year-old poker player, ended his life by jumping into a well in Mota Mava area late Wednesday night. The body was found floating in the well the next morning, PTI had quoted an official at Rajkot taluka police station as saying.
“Our probe has revealed that he took the extreme step as he lost ₹78 lakh while playing a poker game on his mobile phone,” police inspector Vikram Vanzara said.
“We have recovered a suicide note from his home in which he purportedly stated that he borrowed ₹78 lakh from his friends and relatives to play ‘PokerBaazi’,” he said. Mehta worked in an IT company and would often borrow money to play poker in which he lost vast sums regularly, he said.
“He had shared his bank account details on the mobile gaming app. After Mehta’s death, his brother received an email with bank transaction details. This gave a break-up of the money that was deducted as he went about losing several games in succession,” Vanzara said.
The police’s cyber cell is also investigating the case, he added.
People without proper education and guidance end up losing more money than they could really afford. A regulator in such scenarios can have a system in place where people can get counseling to overcome unrealistic greed and stress of unwarranted losses.