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Gaming Report: Hyderabad-Based Cricket-Gaming App Hitwicket Raises ₹24 Crores, ED Probing Online Gaming Fraud Cases Worth ₹4,000 Crores & More

HitWicket, Enforcement Directorate and Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale
  • Naman Sharma November 7, 2022
  • 6 Minutes Read

We begin today’s edition of the ‘Gaming Report’ with the cricket gaming platform Hitwicket, which has launched an online multiplayer cricket game app called “Hitwicket Superstars! The company recently raised $3 Million (about ₹24.30 Crores) in funding from Prime Venture Partners and intends to use these funds to enhance the multiplayer functionality on its platform.

The next story brings us to the Enforcement Directorate`s (ED) scrutiny of online gaming fraud cases involving transactions totalling approximately ₹4,000 Crores. Many of the companies being probed are alleged to be businesses run by China-based entities through dummy Indian directors.

We wrap up this round-up with news of the renowned sports bettor and furniture store owner Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale raking in a record-setting $75 Million after his favorite team Houston Astros won against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night. This is reportedly the largest legal payout in the history of sports betting!

 

Cricket Gaming Platform Hitwicket Raises ₹24 Crores; Launches ‘Hitwicket Superstars’

Hitwicket, which won the PM’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge in the gaming category in 2020, has launched an online multiplayer cricket game app called “Hitwicket Superstars!” The gaming app also disclosed that it has raised $3 million (about ₹24.30 Crores) from Prime Venture Partners and will use the newly infused funding to enhance the multiplayer functionality on its platform.

HitWicket
HitWicket

 

Hitwicket boasts over three million users from 100 different countries, of which more than 30% are from nations other than India, and about 17% of its users are females. On average, users spend at least 45 minutes on the app. The gaming app is widely accessible as it is available for free on all the leading app stores.

Hitwicket is trying to develop a strategy-driven gaming studio to provide unparalleled cricket action to more than a billion fans worldwide. With the vision to emerge as the first Mobile Esports IP in the Cricket Games category from India, Hitwicket is trying to integrate the accessibility of mobile gaming with the universal appeal of cricket.

The company is on track to appease a vast user base projected to increase exponentially in the future. According to a KPMG report, India’s gaming market is anticipated to increase threefold and reach $3.9 Billion by 2025. Additionally, according to a survey by EY and FICCI, there were 390 million online gamers in India as of 2021, and the figure is predicted to reach 450 million by 2023, Hitwicket claimed.

“It is amazing to see a vibrant gaming ecosystem evolving in Telangana. With the phenomenal talent in India and the booming startup sector, the time is ripe for the country to lead the way in building games for a global audience. The gaming industry has the potential to be a huge source of employment and education, and I am proud to see companies in Telangana leading the way. Hitwicket is an example of technology and innovation coming together to give the world one of the biggest strategy games in cricket, built in India for India and the world,” said IT and Industries Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan.

 

Enforcement Directorate Probes Online Gaming Fraud Cases Worth ₹4,000 Crores; Finds Money Trail to China

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is investigating a series of online gaming fraud cases, and several companies under scrutiny are believed to be run by China-based entities through dummy Indian directors. The magnitude of fraud is estimated to be in the ballpark of ₹4,000 Crores.

Enforcement Directorate
Enforcement Directorate

 

The agency is pursuing the money trails of 1,815 suspect accounts in the case relating to Chinese entities. Allegedly two companies, Linkyun Technology Private Limited and Dokypay Technology Private Limited, were involved in scamming users to the tune of ₹1,146 Crores.

The ED claims some Indian companies acted as payment collectors for multiple fraud mobile gaming apps which were banned from the Google Play Store for malpractices. The inception of these companies is believed to have been sourced as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from parent companies in China.

“Download links of such banned apps can be shared through any online messaging platform,” said an agency official.

During its investigation, ED alleged to have found that those behind the scam used various payment gateways for receiving domestic revenues and for carrying out international “hawala” transactions. Following a money trail involving ₹263 Crores, the ED found that ₹106 Crores was sent to Singapore and ₹100 Crores to Hong Kong using multiple shell companies based on spurious airway bills and fabricated invoices showing import of cloud CCTV storage rental services. About ₹57 Crores was routed through a cryptocurrency exchange.

The agency also zeroed in on five domestic entities that had opened accounts with a public sector bank’s Mumbai branch. Subsequent investigations led to the detection of 49 more accounts with a private bank and overseas transfer of about ₹723 Crores. Another account with a Korean bank’s Gurugram branch was used to send ₹42 Crores.

Based on the findings, the ED has made several arrests, including that of Chinese national Yan Hao, crypto trader Naisar Shailesh Kothari, an Indian director named Dhiraj Sarkar, and Deepak Nayyar.

Following Deepak Nayyar’s arrest in May, the agency alleged that the funds were laundered to Hong Kong through select branches of the State Bank of India and the State Bank of Mauritius in Mumbai. Earlier, a chartered accountant, Ravi Kumar, was also arrested in the case where assets worth ₹45 Crores have been seized so far.

In another case, the ED has frozen assets worth ₹68.53 Crores in a probe against Coda Payments India Private Limited (CPIPL) and the “Garena Free Fire” mobile game. The agency alleged that the CPIPL had collected about ₹2,850 Crores, of which ₹2,265 Crores was transferred abroad. The company facilitated payment collections from the end users of games like “Garena Free Fire, Teen Patti Gold, and Call of Duty,” for monetizing and generating revenue for the game publishers.

Garena, the publisher of “Free Fire,” operates from Singapore. Coda Payments India was allegedly incorporated to function as an agent of Coda Payments Singapore Private limited for collecting payments and remitting them to the parent entity.

The E-nuggets gaming app is another case that has been in the news recently. The ED seized assets worth over ₹51 Crores, including Bitcoins. It alleged more than 300 bank accounts were used to launder the money collected from victims.

 

Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale Wins Record-Setting $75 Million Sports Bet

Furniture store owner and known sports bettor Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale’s belief in Houston Astros winning the World Series has paid off, and how! McIngvale won a record-setting $75 Million after the Astros emerged victorious over the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night. This is believed to be the largest legal payout in the history of sports betting.

Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale
Jim ‘Mattress Mack’ McIngvale

 

He initially bet $3 Million on the Astros to win the title at 10-1 in May. Further stakes were made as the Major League Baseball season continued. He bet a total of $10 Million on the team.

 

“What can we say? We just wrote the biggest check in sports betting history to Mattress Mack for $30 Million,” said Ken Fuchs, CEO of Caesars Digital, the company with whom McIngvale made the initial bet.

The 71-year-old will not see much of his winnings: he regularly uses bets to offset promotions at his chain of furniture stores. This year, he offered any customer who spent more than $3,000 double their money back if the Astros won the title.

“Whatever we can do to make people’s lives better, even if it’s through this magical game of baseball, we will,” McIngvale told Fox 26 on Saturday.

Jim McIngvale is the founder of Gallery Furniture, one of the top furniture retailers in the country. However, he was not born with a silver spoon. In fact, McIngvale started by selling furniture under tents on the side of the freeway. He slowly turned his business grand, with more than $200 Million in annual sales revenue. And he has his stores at three locations in Houston.

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