he government of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday decided to ban online betting games like rummy and poker and also take action including prison terms against those playing and organizing them.
The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has approved amendments to AP Gaming Act 1974 to ban online gambling, The New Indian Express reports. Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah said online gambling was damaging the youth by “misleading” them and pushing them on the wrong path.
Venkataramaiah said those caught playing online games would attract imprisonment of six months. The organizers of online gambling would be imprisoned for a year, besides being penalized, for first-time offenses. The jail term would go up to two years for the second offense.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, there has been a steep rise in online gambling in India, according to Times Now Digital. Reports show that the Indian online gaming industry experienced significant growth of 21 percent during the lockdown.
Earlier this year, State President Somu Veerraju’s requested to ban igaming across the state, citing concerns over financial hardship among the state’s 49.8 million inhabitants and a potential for increased problem gambling rates.