The Andhra Pradesh government has banned online gambling games like rummy, poker, fantasy sports.
This move by the government of YS Jaganmohan Reddy is expected to be a setback for platforms like MPL and Dream11, who will lose users from the state amid the ongoing Indian Premier League in UAE.
Any operator running games in the states will get one year imprisonment, and the players will get six months imprisonment, in the first instance. The punishment term increases to two years for both operators and players if they are found guilty again.
The state’s government shared the Andhra Pradesh Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance-2020 prohibiting online gambling on Friday.
As per a report in Outlook India, the ordinance prohibits, ‘(i) collection or soliciting of bets; (ii) receipt or distribution of winning or prizes in money or otherwise in respect of any wager or bet; (iii) any act which is intended to aid, induce, solicit or facilitate wagering or betting or such collection, soliciting, receipt or distribution and (iv) any act of risking money or playing stakes or otherwise on the result of a game or an event including on a game of skill.’
For quite some time, the Andhra Pradesh government has been seriously considering taking stern measures against online rummy. The vice president of the Andhra Pradesh unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), S. Vishnuvardhan Reddy, even wrote a letter in May to Jaganmohan Reddy, urging him to ban online rummy and other betting games in the state.
Legality of games like rummy vary from state to state, in India. The Supreme Court has classified rummy as a game of skill.
However, online rummy is illegal in Telangana under the amended Telangana Gaming Act, 1974, which prohibits playing online games with stakes in the state. The Andhra Pradesh government has followed suit to ban games that involve betting.
The Karnataka government is considering plans to regulate the rapidly growing online gambling industry, while Karnataka BJP MP K C Ramamurthy recently demanded a ban on online rummy.