The Indian state of Andhra Pradesh is about to undergo a drastic change. The Council of Ministers in the area have publicly announced that, after much deliberation, online casinos are to officially be banned. The ban will include the most popular online gambling activities in Andhra Pradesh, Rummy and Poker, both of which have enjoyed firm player bases.
But despite the popularity of the online casino activities, the Minister of Transport, Information and Public Relations, Perni Venkataramaiah, explained that an agreement had been reached with local authorities, and that an undisputed final decision had been reached.
In order for the restrictions to be made official the area’s Gaming Act had to be amended, which had originally been instated back in 1974.
In justifying the drastic steps, Venkataramaiah elaborated that, as far as the Council of Minister’s was concerned, online casinos presented a real and ongoing danger to the youth of the region. Venkataramaiah added that gambling addiction was on the rise, and taking real, serious action now was the only way to prevent further harm.
Along with the ban a host of new punishments are also being introduced in Andhra Pradesh, aimed at swiftly and harshly stamping out gambling activities. Those who offer online casino services face imprisonment of up to a year, assuming the guilty party is only a first time offender. The sentence is increased to 2 years for repeat offender, including a massive fine. Meanwhile players who engage in online gambling could find themselves in jail for 6 months.
The online casino ban in Andhra Pradesh is making headlines across India, with some raising questions about the harsh punishments, and many more criticising how suddenly the restrictions have been turned into official law.
But Somu Veerraju, state president since July this year, was quick to defend the decisions. He utilised social media channels to shoot back at critics, reminding the public that he had been discussing a change to iGaming laws since as long ago as May.
Though, if looking back to May it can be seen that Verraju did not propose a blanket ban on iGaming, but that he had rather suggested that various key sites be restricted, including Junglee Rummy, Ace2Three, and Rummy Circle.
Either way, with the Gaming Act amended and the restrictions in place, the question now being asked is if other states in India will take the same steps.