From Mahabharata To New India: The Perils Of Online Betting Games And The Lessons Of Gambling

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In the wake of a heart-wrenching incident involving the suicide of a BTech final-year student drowning in debts amassed from online cricket betting, the glaring realities of unmonitored internet exposure among vulnerable young adults come sharply into focus.

This tragic event serves as a sombre reminder of the perilous path paved by unchecked access to the digital realm, particularly when it comes to engaging in high-stakes activities like online gambling.

At the crux of this unfolding tragedy lies the unchecked proliferation of online betting platforms lurking in the shadows of the internet's vast expanse. With digital connectivity weaving its way into the fabric of everyday life, young minds find themselves ensnared in a web of temptation, lured by the promise of quick riches and financial independence.

"Online betting platforms like Dream11 have become popular among youngsters, offering them an opportunity to earn money and fulfil their dreams," remarked a 26-year-old, highlighting the allure of these platforms as a source of financial stability and independence. "I bought a flat when I was 24 with the money I made from Dream11. It changed my way of living. Yes, there was a break in education, and now I am pursuing my dream," he added, emphasising the tangible benefits experienced by some users.

 As one 26-year-old eloquently expressed, platforms like Dream11 have become an alluring beacon of hope, offering a pathway to material prosperity previously unimaginable. Yet, beneath the surface lies a stark reality obscured by the glimmer of financial gain—a reality marred by the insidious grip of addiction and despair.

Echoing these sentiments, a 19-year-old spoke of the pragmatic allure of online betting to supplement meagre incomes and shouldering familial burdens in the face of limited employment opportunities."This is an extra source of income. Besides studies, we don't get much time to have a full-time job. Part-time jobs exploit us more than they pay. This helps us to earn and sometimes support our family too,” he says. 

 In a society where part-time jobs offer little solace and financial stability remains a distant dream for many, the allure of easy money proves too enticing to resist. However, amidst the allure of financial gain lies a harrowing truth—a truth shrouded in the shadows of mental anguish and existential despair.

In the face of this mounting crisis, urgent action is imperative. Education and awareness campaigns must be ramped up, targeting vulnerable groups like students with frank discussions about the perils of online gambling. Accessible counselling services and support groups must be established to provide a lifeline for those grappling with addiction and despair. Stricter regulations and robust enforcement mechanisms are needed to stem the tide of underage access to online betting platforms, shielding impressionable minds from the siren call of exploitation.

In the Mahabharata, the tragic consequences of the Pandavas' participation in gambling led to their loss of kingdom, honour, and even their wife Draupadi's dignity. As in the epic, the path forward demands a collective awakening, where policymakers, educators, parents, and society prioritise holistic well-being over material gain. resonate with the perils of modern-day online betting.  The prevalence of online betting platforms in today's 'new India' reflects a troubling repetition of history, as individuals are lured by the promise of easy money, only to find themselves ensnared in a cycle of debt and despair.