Bangladesh casino crackdown shows no sign of slowing
In a recent crackdown on Bangladesh’s illegal casino clubs, over 180 individuals have been arrested and it seems like they will not take the blame by themselves. Arrested individuals immediately started mentioning names of higher-up officials who are involved in the illegal business. It is worth mentioning, that the involvement of political figures in illegal gambling has never been a big secret in Bangladesh especially that illegal gambling venues were operating safely for years before the recent crackdown.
Speculations over the involvement of political figures in illegal gambling
Among the clubs that were shut down by the Bangladeshi police forces were two sporting clubs found to run illegal gambling. Lokman Hossain, director of one of those clubs said that he was “forced to give away the space due to political pressure.” On the other hand, a top official at Victoria Sporting Club, the other venue which was recently shut down by the police pointed his finger at Hossain Samrat, president of the Dhaka South Jubo League – the youth wing of the ruling Awami League Party, claiming that Samrat was the one who suggested to rent out the space to a casino operator. In comments made by Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor, Sayeed Khokon, mentions “I informed the local authorities of the involvement of one of my councillors in the illegal gambling business two months ago but I didn’t see any progress to this end.”
Over 50 illegal gambling casinos operate in Bangladesh today
The recent crackdown was ordered by Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal who told reporters that the casino crackdown “is being taken on the Prime Minister’s directives.” Kamal also emphasized that “the government had no intention of legalizing gambling and politician, public representative or any established person in the society will not be allowed to run casino business.” It seems like the raids are exposing corruption-related issues especially since there are around 60 illegal casinos in Dhaka yet only 4 clubs only have been raided so far and ironically the 4 clubs are within a 300 yards radius of the police station. Jubo League Chairman, Omar Farouk Chowdjury, asks law enforcement agencies sarcastically, “have you been sucking your thumbs for so long?”