Includes Parimatch, Fairplay, and 1XBET

India: Government bans 174 betting and gambling sites including unregistered offshore apps

Minister of State for Finance, India - Pankaj Chaudhary
2023-12-11
Reading time 1:24 min

The Indian government has blocked 581 applications, including 174 betting and gambling apps, the Minister of State for Finance, Pankaj Chaudhary, told the Parliament on Monday. Among the banned platforms operating illegally in India were prominent websites like Parimatch, Fairplay, 1XBET, Lotus365, Dafabet, and Betwaysatta. Some of these platforms are currently being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) blocked a total of 581 applications under section 69A of IT Act, 2000 which includes 174 betting and gambling related applications, 87 loan lending applications, and other applications including gaming applications like PUBG, GArena Free Fire, etc,” Economic Times says Chaudhary told the Lok Sabha (Lower House).
 
Last month, the government banned 22 illegal betting apps and websites after investigations were conducted by the ED against an illegal betting app syndicate and subsequent raids on Mahadev Book in Chhattisgarh.

The latest bans, too, followed an order from the ED. The government in February had also blocked 138 illegal betting and gaming websites. However, some of them were still operating.
 
According to the publication, the government in July amended and notified the IGST Act, which mandates that all offshore gaming companies need to be registered in India. It also gives the central government power to block websites that are not registered and are violating laws.
 
Earlier in October, The Economic Times reported that the government found as many as 114 illegal betting and gambling platforms operating in India through domain farming. The platforms were collecting Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payments through proxy bank accounts and the amount accumulated in proxy accounts was remitted through hawala, crypto, and other illegal routes.
 
The matter was later flagged in a presentation to the Revenue Department again last week by domestic online gaming companies. The companies stated the modus operandi of how several offshore betting and gambling platforms were managing to illegally operate in India.
  
Last week, the Minister of State in a reply to a Lok Sabha (lower house) question, told parliament that no offshore companies have so far registered after October 1st.

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