Sunday, January 24, 2021 | ePaper

Gamblers taking advantage of online must be brought to book

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DESPITE a ban on gambling, many Bangladeshis are playing various online gambling games through which money is being laundered from their gaming accounts. The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) recently revealed 20 Bangladeshi nationals' accounts with Maltese-registered online gaming companies. The gamblers deposited around Tk 33 crore and withdrew more than Tk 22 crore from those accounts in the last fiscal year. To deposit in and withdraw from money, several services-- Neteller, Skrill and Moneybookers are being used. Mobile financial service accounts are also being used for online gambling and money laundering.
Nowadays, online gambling app Teen Patti Gold - developed by a game developer company based in Bengaluru, India - has gained a notable level of popularity in Bangladesh. Many individuals and organisations have sprung up to buy and sell the virtual coins used for Teen Patti gambling. These buy/sell transactions are mainly done through Mobile Financial Service (MFS) accounts and are marketed through various social media in Bangladesh. Android and IOS platform-based mobile phone users of all ages including school, college and university-level students are becoming addicted to this virtual gambling day by day. A person who wants to gamble online sets up an account with Neteller, Skrill or one of the other companies or gets someone to do it for him or her.
This is how a digital/e-money wallet is loaded and used to make payments for gambling. There are agents/intermediaries who collect money from different would-be gamblers/gamers often through bKash and use multiple individuals to funnel money into these e-money accounts. With the advancement of technology and easy way to communicate a vast majority, gamblers are in the internet world to launder thousands of digital illiterate people. The government should set up separate cyber unit to fight against the online gambling, fraud, and anti-social elements. The social curators like teachers, religious leaders, actors-actress and guardians should aware netizens of the danger in the cyber world. Moral teaching and social values should also need to customize along the digital reality to make the generation safe, cautious and self-driven.

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