4 Jul 2019

Andhra may follow Telangana in banning online rummy

Jaganmohan Reddy

The Andhra Pradesh government may bring a new legislation to ban online rummy and gaming in the forthcoming session of the legislative assembly, as per reports in the local press last week.

According to the reports, State Minister for Tourism, Culture and Youth Advancement, Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao alias Avanthi Srinivas raised the issue of online rummy and gaming spoiling the lives of many educated as well as unemployed youth and demanded a ban on online rummy, at a conference of District Collectors and Superintendents of Police in the presence of Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

As per local press reports, after Srinivas raised the issue, the Chief Minister immediately asked Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang for an explanation. It is learnt, that Sawang stated that online rummy websites cannot be blocked due to absence of proper laws governing it.

Reddy is immediately said to have reacted to the assertion by stating that the state government will introduce a new legislation to ban online rummy in the legislative assembly of the state. The newly elected Chief Minister also instructed the police heads of every district to strictly stop all illegal activities, including card rooms and rummy clubs operating in the state.

In 2017, Telangana had become the first state in the country to pass a law to ban all kinds of online games played for real money or stakes, including games of skill such as rummy.

Several online rummy companies had immediately challenged the state government’s ordinance (and subsequent Amendment Act) in the High Court. However, the hearings in the court have not seen much progress in the last two years and the rummy companies have failed to get any substantive relief so far.

Last year, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu had also spoken about the focus, coordination of mind and skill involved in card games while warning about the harmful effects of such games, including the possibility of addiction.

It remains to be seen whether Chief Minister Reddy actually introduces a new legislation to ban online rummy in the winter session of the legislative assembly and whether such a legislation, like Telangana, would include a ban on all games of skill played for stakes.

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