The Legislative Assembly on Tuesday adopted the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Amendment Bill-2020.
Explaining the need for amending the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act-1974, Home Minister M. Sucharitha said that development of technology and mass communication network and the Internet had opened many opportunities for online activities.
Technology had transformed the nature and scope of gambling, which was no longer restricted to traditional gambling house. “It can be played on the cyberspace that is accessible 24/7 and 365 days,” she said.
Another problem was that online gambling could induce criminal behaviour in society and increase the number of organised crimes such as money laundering and fraud. Many websites that claim to providing gambling services were not authentic and there were no regulatory measures to check the legitimacy of such sites, she said.
“It is easy for those sites to defraud the consumers. Also, a lot of security and privacy issues are involved. Accordingly, the government has decided to amend the Act,” she added.
TDP MLA A. Satya Prasad said that betting was going on unabated in Nizampatnam.
Intervening the discussion, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy asserted that the government would not spare anyone involved in betting.
The police were given clear instructions that none should be spared. A distant cousin of Minister Jayaram was caught by the police for his involvement in online betting. A case was registered against him though he claimed that he was a relative of the Minister, the Chief Minister said.
Mr. Jayaram had asked the police to take action against the accused despite he being his relative. “The law enables imprisonment of those who are convicted of playing online games and involved in online betting,” he added, and slammed the TDP government for not making an effort to prevent online gaming.
With the amendment, the government inserted in the Act “playing online game for winning money or any other stakes” after the words matka or satta.
Instruments of gaming include cards, dice, gaming, tables or cloth boards, or any other article intended to be used physically or in any virtual or intangible mode, including electronically, as subject means of gaming. Every offence under this Act is cognizable and non-bailable.