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Contradicting its own policy of drawing investments in the gaming industry, the Telangana state cabinet moved four ordinances to amend existing online gaming acts to ban online gambling making both online gamblers and promoters of these games in the state liable for prosecution under the new law. The ordinance with the gaming clause has been approved last week and sent to Governor E S L Narasimhan.
Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari after the cabinet meeting in Hyderabad spoke about the new developments, “Soon after the formation of Telangana, the CM had ordered police to crack down on clubs and other places which encourage gambling. But the government received complaints that people are now indulging in online gambling. We want to eliminate gambling in all forms. So the Gaming Act would be amended, banning online gambling. The cyber police will track online gambling and act against violators”
Notably, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had released its gaming policy three months ago under which investors in the online gaming industry were proposed to be given incentives but upset over rising patronage of online card games, the CM asked officials to prepare a new law. The new government (TRS) has made voluntary efforts to crack the whip on gambling, illegal card clubs and forced them to stop their operations, which lead to online card games being promoted.
According to reports, the local police received several complaints of financial loss due to these games and the state government was upset over the rising number of complaints against the industry.
The state is looking to classify online poker and rummy as ‘gambling’ and planned to impose a fine of ₹5,000 for the first offence and higher fines for repeat offenders.
Two years ago, Andhra Pradesh High Court upheld that Rummy is a game of skill and playing it was within the framework of the Constitution, which was followed by a Supreme Court order that also ruled that online rummy was not illegal.
Apart from online gaming, the TRS also plans to curb sale of spurious seeds, food adulteration and fake certification with these ordinances.
Image Source: Times Of India e-paper
Industry sources have indicated that a consortium of gaming operators are likely to challenge these acts of the government in court in the next few days.
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