Dangerous culture of playing Rummy online exposed

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Chennai:¬†Forty five-year-old Surya (name changed), takes offence if someone calls him ‘addicted’ to Rummy. For him, it is a passion. But for those who are in the know, it appears otherwise. It is learnt that he had got involved in gambling at a young age, with the game eventually becoming an indispensable part of his life. So much so, that the day his wedding was to be fixed, he refused to leave the gambling den. It was a few years ago, that he found that he could play online and life changed. Or did it?

“Do not call me an addict,” Surya says, adding “I am just involved in playing. I have only two worries, my tablet running out of battery or the internet being down.”

Although he runs a courier office in the city, he allegedly spends all his time online. His parents, understandably rue that he has destroyed his life.

This is just one of the many stories of people being addicted to digital Rummy, with the Cyber Crime Cell of the city police, not sure about how to handle it.

“We have so far not received any complaints from those who have lost their money over online gambling. It pops up several times in between YouTube videos due to Google’s advertisement sensing,” a police official says, adding, “We consider playing Rummy offline as an offence. It is a game which affects lives, as it involves losing money and is also highly addictive.”

Even as the game has widespread popularity, what is difficult to navigate through, are fake sites which cheat people off money.

While most players treat it as just as a game, there is a fine line between it being an addiction and later, playing with vengeance.

Seasoned players, however, have a word of caution. “Watch out for fake players. They can be identified as those being online for 24 hours or if they are seen at more than two or three tables. Also, algorithm-based and genuine sites have integrated systems which will restrict deposits,” they state.

Putting the bad guys away

* To weed out fake sites and to ensure best practices in the game, TRF (The Rummy Federation), a not-for-profit society, was established under the Societies Registration Act, to guide and support the online Rummy industry in providing sustainable and healthy entertainment to players across India.

* TRF plans to set up the compliance process to certify and grant TRF Seal to member rummy operators as part of the self-regulatory programme.

* It has prepared a concrete roadmap to certify online rummy operators, against a stringent ‘Code of Conduct’, covering all aspects of player responsible operations.

Naomi N