New measures have been put in place in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh which impose a blanket ban on online gambling, targeting direct restrictions on online poker and rummy services.
Perni Venkataramaiah, the state’s Minister of Transport, Information and PR, confirmed the news, stating that the Council of Ministers had agreed to amend the state’s 1974 Gaming Act to implement the ban.
The measure, according to Venkataramaiah, has been taken to protect the state’s young people, and to prevent gambling addiction
The ban follows on from State President Somu Veerraju’s request earlier this year to ban igaming across the state, citing concerns over financial hardship among the state’s 49.8 million inhabitants and a potential for increased problem gambling rates.
Veerraju, a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, took to social media to welcome the new ban. He explained that those in breach of the ruling will face strict punishments, including a year-long jail sentence for first-time offenders, which will double to two years and a penalty for repeat offenders.
Over the last few months, India’s government has placed a ban on a number of mobile applications from Chinese developers amid political tensions between the two countries.
As a result, the government banned TenCent’s PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) mobile title after complaints were made regarding personal data usage.
India’s government maintains no federal oversight on gambling, allowing the republic’s 29 states to independently formulate their own laws, in which the only central condition imposed is that ‘public gambling houses are prohibited’ under the 1867 Public Gambling Act.
Debate has emerged within the Lok Sabha (Parliament) as to how India can impose a stronger centralised framework to monitor gambling developments, as India’s media, tech, entertainment, and sports stakeholders reference a century-old mandate for business guidance.
However Indian MPs remain divided on which types of gambling amendments and protections should be implemented as constitutional law.
Meanwhile, India’s business community awaits for the Modi government to finalise its reform of the ‘2000 Information Technology Act’, in which new federal amendments and protections are anticipated on consumer laws, data protection and digital services.