This is the fourth part of Madhyamam's investigative series on online gambling and online games like rummy.
When we take a Policy or buy a Share or even take a mobile sim card, a set of terms and conditions will be there which we are supposed to read, understand and agree, before proceeding forward. Do we commoners pay patience to read these conditions poured over countless pages?
We are signing up to these companies' conditions that we agree on their right to change terms and conditions, and we are ready to agree with new terms they are about to impose in the future. While we install apps or fill forms online, we agree to everything in lightning clicks. In fact, they are receiving permission to ruin our privacy and rob us in a click!
When we register, the online gambling sites may promise that a player could withdraw his winnings any time. But they would have removed the clause without our knowledge later. Also modifies the conditions regarding balance. The companies' always try to hold the wallet balance.
They make terms and conditions with loopholes for that. We check it to agree while registering.
Could we move legal?
There are government employees who didn't file a case even after losing lakhs of rupees says a cyber police officer. If somebody attempt to file a case, there aren't enough laws to persecute online games but regular gaming acts. According to that card game is not illegal unless money is involved in large amounts. In online games, companies never mention that money is needed, or they are taking it. The requirement of a certain balance in the wallet is enough, they say. For now, we could only tell people that online games are a fraud. Some states have laws against it. The same should be brought and implemented in Kerala too.
When the Cyberdom CI consulted for legal advice, he learned that there aren't enough laws to take action, says a Cyberdom officer.
Cyber Cell informed that they received many complaints regarding the money loss through online games from Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode in Kerala. In most of them, its children who played using their parent's bank accounts. There were countless incidents in which children became the victim to the fraud due to addiction.
Children should be under supervision
Because of the online classes, parents don't care much about the expanse of time children spend with smartphone and tabs. As going out and mingling with their friends wasn't advisable during the lockdown, parents preferred children staying indoors playing mobile games. It is elders who should make sure that children are playing risk-free games.
Children from reported cases started gaming with a sum of 50 rupees. When that amount runs out, they borrow from their friends. Then they turn to their parents' bank accounts. Most of them know their parents' bank credentials, and in some cases, children themselves manage bank accounts or ATM cards of parents who are abroad. The parents realise the trap only when they notice the reduction of large amounts in their bank accounts or peculiar behaviour in their children. Instead of filing a complaint, they try to rescue their children from the trap.
Parents must be aware of their children's online lives and implement the required restrictions. That doesn't mean rash moves like forcing mobile phones or ATM cards out of them but try to make them understand about the traps they could fall.
Ways to lose way
Sunil Valayamkulam, a social worker in the legal fight against online games, relates the story of a native of Perinthalmanna who pawned his relative's gold to play. The man became a drug addict and lost his sanity. When one leaves the game after a loss, companies put catchy offers to bring them back. Sunil says that to regain one's money, she resorts in illegal actives such as sex racket, drug peddling or chain-snatching.
Even after filing the petition before DGP and meeting Cheif Minister, and MLA's, no action was taken yet, but a warning put in the Cyberdom website that online gambling is fraud and no one should play.