Amaravati, AP: In a major crackdown on online gambling, the Andhra Pradesh government has banned online games such as Poker and Rummy. The government has also announced punishment of up to two years in jail if someone found organising such online games.
State Information Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) on Thursday said that the Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has approved amendments to AP Gaming Act 1974 to ban online gambling games like online Rummy and Poker. Organisers of such online games will be punished with one-year imprisonment if caught for the first time.
“If the organizers (of online gambling games) are caught for the second time, they will be punished with two years of imprisonment and fine. Those who play online gambling games will be punished with six months imprisonment,” he added.
Briefing reporters at the end of the cabinet meet, the Minister said online gambling has become a vice that was damaging the youth by ‘misleading’ them. “So we have decided to ban all such online gambling to protect the youth,” Nani added.
Spike in online gambling during lockdown in India
During the Coronavirus lockdown, there has been a steep rise in online gambling in India. Reports show that the Indian online gaming industry experienced significant growth of 21 per cent during the lockdown and considering that the larger chunk of online gaming is gambling.
The Indian online gambling scene hit its all-time record high traffic and revenue generation during the very desolate months of 2020. The major reason behind the growth has been the marketing of these games as online casinos and gambling sites marketed and advertised on several platforms.
Earlier in July, a petition was filed in the Madras High Court seeking the arrest of Indian cricket skipper Virat Kohli and actress Tamannah for promoting online gambling.
In the petition filed, a Chennai-based advocate had sought direction from Saudi Arabia the High Court to ban the online gambling apps stating that youngsters are getting addicted to it. The petition had further stated that the online gambling companies are using stars like Virat Kohli and Tamannah to brainwash youngsters and therefore, both should be arrested for it.