Online gambling banned in Andhra Pradesh
Major changes regarding online gambling have been implemented in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy together with the Council of Ministers has approved the amendments to the Gaming Act from 1974 introducing changes towards online gaming, particularly targeting to prevent people playing games such as rummy and poker. These are games that are highly popular in the online gambling community in India.
The driving force to amendments was Somu Veerraju, the state president of Andhra Pradesh. Although it has been said that the amendments were made to protect young adults from gambling addiction, the recent ban on mobile apps from China by the Indian government as well as the rapid growth of online gambling industry in India during the pandemic have been speculated to have an effect on the speed of introducing these changes.
Time in jail and fines ahead for those who engage in gambling
The amendments to the law made it possible to be punished in situations where someone is found out to be engaging in gambling activities online. Those who get caught for the first time will face one year in jail. In a case of second offense, the individual would face two years in jail as well as a fine. No other measures for those who keep offending the law were introduced. What is more, any preventative actions, therapy sessions or other softer forms of preventing or getting rid of already existing gambling addiction were not introduced.
New law to protect young people from addiction
As expected, the reasons behind the ban are in protecting people from getting addicted to gambling. The act put into practice in Andhra Pradesh has been placed in the hopes of lessening problem gambling as well as protecting young adolescents from it. There has been a request to ban a few popular sites including Junglee Rummy and Ace2Three as they were claimed to be the biggest cause of luring young people into gambling.
The Gambling Laws of India leave room for interpretation
The call for banning these sites has not been executed. Although the amendments were introduced to the Gaming Act in Andhra Pradesh from 1974, the amendments only made towards the possibility of punishment in case someone was found to be gambling. Thus, the responsibility of not gambling is on the individual as no acts on banning any sites providing gambling services were taken.
The laws regarding gambling have been complex and with room for interpretation. Although outdated, the nationwide Public Gambling Act of 1867 has not been modified much since the day it was put into practice. The laws regarding gambling in India are created, monitored and executed on a state level. This has resulted in various laws and regulations within India, some of which carry out the law more rigorously than others. For instance, the Gambling Laws in Goa and Sikkim are very loose and allow gambling whereas laws in areas such as Andhra Pradesh have decided to move towards stricter laws and regulations.