Reconstruction of the 17th century ‘gambling game’: exacerbated?
The hues of power and mystery- the reds and blacks of a standard 52 card deck doesn’t hold any economic clout until dragged into the world of gambling, where the treasure holders come to bid their fortune and money.
Be it Hollywood classic characters like James Bond in Casino Royale or the high-end stars like Amitabh Bachchan in The Great Gambler, cinema has casted an image of casinos as ‘the reign of the riches’-well-dressed high-class people betting billions. But the same attributes to prejudice the mental health as well as personal life of the “whales” (any high limit gambler who tends to lose large sums).
Digitization of the tradition
While everything has facadetowards the digital era, how could gambling lose its stake? The history of traditional baccarat falls back to the era of Mughals but it’s online version is mere thirteen years old, starting with a simulated baccarat game called IRC Baccarat, without putting in real money. It was only after the launch of The Planet Baccarat that gambling was able to hold a place in digital market and is still prevalent, even after serious technical grievances. The number of online baccarat websites has taken a surge since then and so did the number of gamblers,
- 23 million regular online baccarat players
- 15 million play for real money
- 5 million registered users from India
The addition of the prefix ‘e’ to baccarat has unhinged the already prejudiced sanity of players. E-baccarat, being easily accessible, proved to be in vitro of the brick and mortar casino. The game of aces which was once avoided because of its need of large set-ups and less profit is now the gold mine of online gambling. The reasons for the upsurge in high rollers in gambling is the widest root of the problem. It does not need one to take out time and put their tuxedos on and drive to the countryside, unlike their brick and mortar counterparts. This advantage has made them more addictive towards the business. Though the Android Play store has only simulated online baccarat games, but the common searches on it-
- online baccarat for real money India
- online baccarat games for real cash,
is a proof to the same for India.
The internet discussion forums have myriad allegations of non-random betting, perhaps favouring house-employed players or bots; or increasing the bets or the rake. Moreover, it also builds a tranquil of traps for the beginners by not letting them lose easily. Recent reports say that the infamous COVID-19 and the lockdown following it led to an upsurge in the number of online baccarat players, an alternative for their addiction!
Former or future?
Both of them have been cast in the same mould, though carved differently. The barrier of the brick and mortar casinos has been overcome by e-baccarat but the same barrier was keeping up with the spirit of the game i.e. not affecting its patrons emotionally. The increased indulgence of the bookies is escalating their prejudice and economic loss, rather than limiting the game as mere a source of entertainment. The choice between the former and the future is probably not in our hands in the times of digitization, but it is possible to limit the fall into the hole only until the light is visible!