The Council of Ministers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has decided to ban online gambling, and will jail those who operate or play products such as online rummy and poker.
It was announced by by Minister of Transport, Information and PR Perni Venkataramaiah, who explained that the authorities have agreed to amend the state’s 1974 Gaming Act to implement the ban.
The measure is being taken to protect the state’s young people, and to prevent gambling addiction, Venkataramaiah said.
New punishments for those that flout the ban will be introduced, with first time offenders to be jailed for a year, according to the minister. This will be double to two years and a fine for repeat offenders, while players face six months’ imprisonment.
The measure, which has been widely reported in the Indian press, was confirmed by Andhra Pradesh state president Somu Veerraju, a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Verraju, who has served in his position since July this year, took to social media to highlight the fact he had requested a ban on igaming in May.
At the time Veerraju called for igaming sites such as Rummy Circle, Ace2Three and Junglee Rummy be banned, saying that the industry was causing financial hardship across the state – India’s seventh largest – and causing young people to become addicted.
It comes in the wake of the Indian government introducing a ban on a range of mobile applications from Chinese developers, amid rising tensions between the two countries.
This saw TenCent’s popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) mobile title banned, with the government claiming there had been multiple public complaints about the apps, and allegations that personal data was being stolen.
Andhra Pradesh, in the south-east of India, is home to 49.8m people and includes the cities of Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada.