What Are the Online Gambling Laws in Andhra Pradesh?

The government of Andhra Pradesh has declared online gambling to be illegal in September. Perni Venkataramaiah, the State Information Prime Minister known as Nanai has announced the decision following the Cabinet meeting. 

Nevertheless, they have also announced that they are not going to block the gambling websites and apps that let you bet in rummy, poker, and other games. So, the citizens of the state will be able to access the service but if they are caught, they can be prosecuted. 

Andhra Pradesh has passed the AP Gaming Bill, 2020 substituting the ordinance promulgated in the month of September 2020. The amendment to the AP Gaming Act, 1974 has been carried out to online gambling, gaming, and betting an act of offence inside the state. 

100 Websites Banned

Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister had written to the Union Minister for Communications and IT asking him to ban over 100 websites dealing with online betting and gaming in the state of Andhra Pradesh. There has been an increase in the trend to ban online games for real money. Even though the primary goal of the government was to control the youth from getting addicted to vices to gambling, the bill has taken the step to ban all online games that are played for real money. 

In a press conference following the cabinet meeting, Venkataramiah commented that as per the new laws, the organizers of the gambling activity are going to be jailed for a year and in case of repeated conviction, they are going to be jailed for 2 years. Moreover, playing games can cause players to be jailed for 6 months. There are several companies that are offering gambling services over the internet and according to the government; these sites are leading the youth on the wrong path. This is the reason the government has decided to make all gambling activities illegal. A government order to this is going to be issued in time to come.

The reason behind banning online gaming and betting is as follows. 

  • It has led to widespread despair.
  • People are resorting to suicides due to loss of money.
  • Serious addiction and consequent violent behaviour.

The government has requested the internet service providers to block online gambling, gaming, and betting apps and websites from access in the state of Andhra Pradesh. 

Not a Technical Ban on Online Gambling

The principal secretary of the state home department, Kumar Vishwajeet has confirmed that the government is not going to ban any mobile app or sites inside the state. So, it is only going to issue an ordinance for amending the previous AP Gaming Act, 1974. This will make online gambling a non-bailable and cognizable offence. Up until now, because of the lack of legislation on online gambling, there existed a grey area. 

Thus, he said that the government isn’t saying that it is going to block anything. They are just saying that if they catch someone indulging in online gambling, they are going to put them in jail. The amendment isn’t for banning anything. In previous times, when someone had been gambling, it was just a non-cognizable offence. But, now, they have made it a cognizable and non-bailable offence. They seem to have come up with a strict law. 

Websites and App Will Still be Available

Andhra Pradesh state government isn’t going to prosecute any app or website proactively. Vishwajeet has admitted that the laws aren’t going to be absolute. He says that the government believes it is going to be a deterrent act. The apps and websites will keep offering services. However, they are only asking people not to indulge in it. Once some people are caught and sent off to jail, the others are going to fear participating in these activities. 

Fantasy Leagues Off of the Radar

Fantasy leagues might be out of the radar. When the government has been asked if these games can be considered as games of luck, they said there can be thousands of arguments like that but everyone will have their own perception. The amendment is not going to include fantasy leagues under gambling. 

Vishwajeet states that the amendment is only going to be about betting. Anything that is involved with betting is going to come under this. When he was asked if it covers all games of chance, he said they aren’t thinking about chance or skill in a game, if there are betting and money involved, it is going to come under the amendment act.

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