Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has written a letter to the Centre listing out 132 online gaming, gambling and betting sites and applications, urging it to direct Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block them as they are harmful to the society.
In the missive addressed to Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Jagan said that this needs immediate Centre’s intervention. The CM highlighted the adverse impact the apps would have on the society.
He wrote that online gaming and betting is fast catching up as a severe social evil. It has led to youth getting involved in vices from the comfort of their home through their mobile phones and computers. While gambling or betting in the usual form can easily be identified in terms of gambling dens and betting groups, online gambling and betting remains elusive, Jagan pointed out.
The AP CM said that suicides due to losing money by gambling online, severe addiction and consequent violent behaviour in case of any restriction, general aloofness amongst the youth and indifference to society and world were some of the significant damaging consequences.
“In light of the above, we have amended the AP Gaming Act, 1974 to include online gaming, online gambling and online betting as an offence through Andhra Pradesh (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was notified on 25th September, 2020.”
The objectives of the amendment to the Act is to ban online gaming, online betting and online gambling. “It is made a cognizable offence punishable under the Act. Moreover, the managing directors of all the online gaming companies and those involved in running of the company are liable for punishment under the Act,” Jagan mentioned in the letter.
One of the main features of the Act is that even those ‘assisting’ the operation of online games are liable for punishment. ISPs can be termed as assisting in case they do not take steps to block access of these websites to areas where this is illegal. Online gaming, gambling or betting cannot be stopped without assistance of ISPs, Jagan mentioned.
The Chief Minister said: “And this is where I seek your intervention and indulgence. I would request you to direct all the ISPs to block all the online gaming, gambling and betting websites and apps from access in Andhra Pradesh. A list of websites identified to be involved in online gaming, gambling, betting is being attached.”