India State of Andhra Pradesh Bans Online Gambling

  • People found operating an online gambling site could get up to two years in jail and a fine
  • Anyone caught gambling online could face a year in prison
  • BJP Andhra Pradesh President Somu Veerraju has been calling for the ban
  • India had previous banned almost 200 Chinese mobile apps, including TenCent's PUBG
India flag flying against a blue sky
The Andhra Pradesh government in India has decided to ban online gambling; both gamblers and operators risk prison time if caught. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Even the smallest penalties are stiff

The Andhra Pradesh Council of Ministers has imposed a ban on online gambling. Anyone found to be gambling online or operating an internet gambling site could face jail time. 

This new restriction was announced by Transport, Information and PR minister Perni Venkataramaiah. The ban will go into effect via an amendment to the state’s 1974 Gaming Act.

Gamblers who are caught placing wagers online could face six months behind bars.

The stated goal of the ban is to counteract gambling addiction and to properly protect young people in the region. A first time offender of the law against operating an online gambling site will face jail time of a year. The penalty will rise to two years plus a fine for repeat offenders. Gamblers who are caught placing wagers online could face six months behind bars.

Andhra Pradesh is in the southeast India and is home to almost 50 million people.

Ruling party’s leader pleased

Somu Veerraju, Andhra Pradesh’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President, confirmed this new ban. He has only been in his current role since July and he has been calling for such a ban since May, saying that certain online gambling sites relating to online poker and rummy should not be allowed. 

Veerraju believes that online gambling leads to financial hardship in the seventh-largest region in India, with young people getting easily addicted. Following the announcement of the new restrictions. Veerraju took to social media to express his support.

There is no federal oversight of gambling in India; the country’s 29 states are able to create their own laws on the matter. The only condition coming from a central position is that “public gambling houses” are not allowable.

Banning of Chinese apps

The decision to make online gambling illegal comes after the national government banned a number of mobile apps built by Chinese developers. Tensions have been escalating as of late between the nations. 

apps have been the subject of many complaints

The popular TenCent online video game, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), is one of the banned mobile apps. The Indian government says that these apps have been the subject of many complaints, some of which allege that personal data is being stolen.

The latest wave of bans saw about 188 Chinese apps blacklisted, including WeChat Work, Carrom Friends, and Livik. This is the third wave of bans, with 59 apps blocked in June and 47 in July.