Curtains going up today for massive Sankranti gambling

Sources say grounds where cockfights are going to be organised are ready

Kakinada: Whatever the protestations of revenue and police departments for past 20 days, curtains are going up for massive gambling throughout the state coinciding with 2022’s Bhogi on Friday, Sankranti on Saturday and Kanuma on Sunday.

Those knowledgeable about organised gaming say amounts ranging from ₹ 4,000–6,000 crore are going to change hands during the three days throughout AP. Though gambling, including cockfights and playing cards, is traditionally most popular in East and West Godavari districts, Krishna district too is becoming a major centre of late.

Prized roosters of special breeds with killer instincts have especially been grown in Krishna district for participating in the fights, the popular varieties among them being “Dega, Kaki and Nemali”.

Sources say grounds where cockfights are going to be organised are ready. They will all be under the control of syndicates, which are allotting unlicensed outlets around the grounds for selling food stuff, liquor and decks of cards for playing “Thokata”, “Dhanka-Phanka” and other forms of gambling like “Gundata”.

The established syndicates are not allowing new organisers to enter in the field. For example, a village in Samalkot mandal had allowed a new dealer to organise gambling outlets on the village grounds, collecting a rent of ₹ 1 lakh from each “Gundata” stall owner. But two days ago, a ruling party leader from Peddapuram and Pithapuram constituency, wanted the new dealer to withdraw.

“Gundata” stalls are now going for ₹ 3.75 lakh. The person, who has taken over, is expecting nearly ₹ 20 crore income from ₹ 50 crore turnover expected from this one ground. Like this, there will be innumerable grounds throughout the state, where organisers are expecting high returns this year.

Though West Godavari is known for its cockfights with high betting, it is said this year Mummidivaram in East Godavari has become a special attraction. Gamblers from the entire Konaseema area are expected to assemble here.

Some women entrepreneurs too will be entering the fray in Mummidivaram with their specially grown roosters.

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