In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, new measures have been introduced which impose a blanket ban on online gambling, targeting direct restrictions on online poker and rummy services.
The news was reported by Perni Venkataramaiah, the state’s Minister of Transport, Information and PR, who announced that the Council of Ministers had decided to amend the 1974 state Gaming Act to enforce the ban.
According to Venkataramaiah, the measure was taken to protect young people in the state and to prevent addiction to gambling
The ban follows on from the proposal of State President Somu Veerraju earlier this year to prohibit igaming across the state, citing concerns about financial distress among the 49.8 million inhabitants of the state and a potential for increased gambling rates for issue.
Veerraju, a member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of India, has taken to social media to accept the new ban. He clarified that those who violate the rule will face stringent penalties, including a year-long prison term for first-time offenders, which would increase to two years and a penalty for repeat offenders.
In recent months, the government of India has imposed a ban on a number of Chinese developers’ mobile applications amid diplomatic tensions between the two countries.
As a consequence, the government prohibited the smartphone title of TenCent’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), after concerns were made about the use of personal data.
India’s government does not retain federal control over gambling, enabling the 29 republic states to devise their own laws separately, of which the only basic requirement levied is that ‘all gambling houses are barred’ under the National Gambling Act of 1867.
Within the Lok Sabha (Parliament), debate has arisen on how India can implement a stronger centralised system to track developments in gambling, as India’s media, tech, entertainment, and sports stakeholders refer to a centuries-old business guidance mandate.
However, Indian MPs remain split on which forms of changes and protections to gambling should be enforced as constitutional legislation.
Meanwhile, the business community of India is waiting for the government of Modi to finalise its reform of the ‘2000 Information Technology Act,’ which anticipates new federal amendments and protections on consumer laws, data protection and digital services.