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Business tycoon Raj Kundra rolls out new sports venture called the IPL

Is this in response to his ban from the previous venture?


Raj Kundra officially launches the IPL with support from the IFP
Raj Kundra officially launches the IPL with support from the IFP

What’s the story?

Former co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, Raj Kundra rolled out his new venture on Tuesday, and it comes as no surprise that it shares its acronym with the Indian Premier League. The latest project, the Indian Poker League (IPL) has been created with a clear purpose of removing the taboo around gambling in the country, this despite the irony of Kundra’s ban from the other IPL.

Speaking at the launch event in Mumbai, he made it pretty evident why he opted to use this particular acronym and said, "I'm back! I just couldn't keep myself away from the event."

The context

Kundra had been banned from the Indian Premier League due to alleged cases of betting that were proven to be true later. He doesn’t shy away from smugly claiming that he isn’t the one to keep away from IPL so easily.

The heart of the matter

The stakeholders involved in putting the brand new league together are clear on their agenda, to remove the stigma around gambling.

Joined by his wife, Shilpa Shetty, at the event launch, the business tycoon enthusiastically put forth his plans regarding the league and was insistent in dodging questions regarding his previous rendezvous with the cricketing version of the IPL. When asked, he responded in context to the new venture.

Kundra also reinforced multiple times his belief that poker and the IPL, in particular, had nothing to do with gambling and went on to assert that this would be a grand opportunity to place India on the global poker scene. The winning team of the IPL would be getting the opportunity to represent the country at the World Cup.

The Indian Poker League has earned its recognition by the International Federation of Poker (IFP) who have slotted a spot for the Indian team to participate in the Nations Cup to be held in December in Oxford, England. This would be India’s second time at an IFP event after the Asian Nations Cup in China in 2013 where they placed sixth.

This would be Kundra’s third sport-based venture in the country. While he was banned from the IPL, which was his first, his second venture the Super Fight League seems to be running smoothly despite the lack of limelight it has received.

What’s next?

IPL will be a two-day event slated to be held in October, in Mumbai and will further decide the fate of the team in terms of international representation.

Author’s take

As someone who has dabbled in this area before, it would be certainly interesting to see how Kundra’s venture turns out and more importantly, how the country receives it. It is no doubt nonetheless, that this would give a well-deserved opportunity to the many aspiring poker players in the country.

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