Telangana govt. passes ordinance to ban online gambling

Wed / June / 2017

As per a new law within the Telangana state legislature, promoters and participants of online gambling platforms are likely to be prosecuted. Four ordinances were passed by the state cabinet of Telangana to amend the existing online gambling act and ban online platforms operating in this sector.

However, this move is contradictory to the own policy as proposed by the state government for drawing investments into the online gaming industry. This ordinance was with the gaming clause was approved just the previous week, and sent over to the Governor ESL Narasimhan.

On these new developments in the online gaming platforms Deputy Chief Minister, Kadiam Srihari said, after the cabinet meeting in Hyderabad, “Soon after the formation of Telangana, the CM had ordered police to crack down on clubs and other places that encourage gambling. But the government then began received complaints that people are now indulging in online gambling. We want to eliminate gambling in all forms. So the Gaming Act should be amended, banning online gambling. The cyber police will now track online gambling and act against violators”.

However, it is noteworthy, that the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had initially released a gaming policy just three months ago. The policy was conducive to the online gaming platforms under which the policy-makers decided to incentivize investors of online gaming platforms. However, with the CM upset over the growing patronage of online card games has undertaken this new mission of banning online gambling.

With the new government formation of the TRS, the state had cracked a strong whip against illegal card games and shut down card clubs operating in the state. However, this only led to online gambling platforms to be promoted better.

Reports suggest that the local police received a lot of complaints of financial loss due to these online platforms which upset the state government. While it should be upon the people to make intelligent decisions about their own actions, the series of complaints of consenting individuals who participated in these acts has made it difficult for the online cottage industry of sites such as rummy and poker. As the government has decided to deem online rummy and poker as gambling and is planning to impose a fine of more than INR 5,000 for the first offense of indulging in the same and higher for repeated ones.

It was only about 2 years ago, that the Andhra Pradesh High Court upheld Rummy as a game of skill and playing the same was well within the framework of the constitution. This was further followed by the Supreme Court order which also ruled online rummy as legal.

While the ordinance sustained, online gaming industry insiders suggest that a consortium of online game operators is likely to challenge this new act made by the TRS government in court within the next few days.

Despite international and national statistical analyses reports suggesting that poker and other online games industry are the next big economic waves about to hit the Indian markets. It seems the Telangana state government’s crackdown will be the next big obstacle due course, for the success of online gaming industry.