The Telegraph
Wednesday , November 14 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Diwali spirit beats price pinch
Honey, it’s a new form of gambling

Nov. 13: It’s a honey trap of a different kind. Some manage to escape and go laughing all the way to the bank, but most don’t and return home empty-handed.

If it is Diwali, it has to be time to woo Lady Luck. In other words, it is gambling time. And the good old cards are not the only way to gamble.

For instance, want to bet on which drop of honey the bee will sit? You win and you get double your bet. You lose, well, you just lose.

Cards and other items used in gambling. File picture

If sources at the trade hub Fancy Bazar are to be believed, the city has got this new gambling for this Diwali where people put money on when bees will sit on honey drops inside a glass box.

“It is an interesting kind of gambling where three to four persons sit inside a room and one of them puts a few drops of honey on coins inside a glass box. A few bees are put in the box and the others sitting opposite put money on which coin the bees will sit in a stipulated time. They keep a stopwatch and usually fix one-minute time and if a bee sits on a coin within that time, the person putting money on the coin will get double the amount. If the bees do not sit on any coin by that time, the person sitting opposite will get all the amount put on the coins,” a youth at Fancy Bazar, who was witness to “honey-bee gambling” told The Telegraph today. The youth however, did not wish to be named as gambling is prohibited and he may face harassment from gamblers.

According to him, “honey-bee gambling” is organised within families and among friends as it is a lot of fun. The stakes are usually low “not exceeding Rs 500 to Rs 1,000” and the mood is light. “In some cases the amount goes up,” he said.

“Sometimes the person sitting on the opposite gives two to three chances to the opponents in case the bees do not sit on the honey for a long time. This is done to make the game more interesting,” the youth said. The games are organised mostly in Fancy Bazar, Athgaon, Narayan Nagar and some other areas.

Police here said they, too, have heard of the practice and it might be done to deceive the police. “A few boys in Fancy Bazar told us about honey-bee gambling but we have not come across any so far. If we find anyone we will take action as gambling is illegal,” a source in Bharalumukh police station said.

If this gambling is for fun, the serious game is played using dice and playing cards, where stakes go up to lakhs of rupees. The police sources said gambling takes place in every nook and cranny of the city and they were keeping a watch on big-time gambling mostly played in Fancy Bazar, Athgaon, Beltola, Panbazar and some other areas. “Gambling takes place in some hotel rooms too and hence we are keeping watch on hotels this time,” said the source. The police caught 13 gamblers during raids at Sijubari, Kahilipara and Beltola in the past two days.

Another youth at Athgaon said although gambling was part of the Diwali celebrations; big-time gambling picked up in the city during the last five to six years and continues for weeks before and after Diwali.