Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has asked Union Minister RS Prasad to block 132 websites in the state, owing to the dangers posed by online gambling and betting.
Reddy attached a list of 132 such websites and apps with a letter on which he wanted the Centre to act. Since the first “Chinese” app ban that took place in June, the government has so far banned 224 apps on the grounds of national security. Now CM Reddy in his letter asks for the ban of 132 websites and argues that online gambling should also be banned as it leads “to youth getting involved in vices like gambling and betting from the comfort of their homes, through their mobile phones and computers.”
According to Gadget 360, there are several sites and apps which are included in the letter that have absolutely nothing to do with online gambling, including EA.com – one of the biggest and best known game developers globally, best known for its series of sports games like FIFA and NHL, as well as mobile games like Bejeweled and SimCity.
The State government has recently declared online gaming, gambling and betting as illegal under the A.P. Gaming Act, 1974, by promulgating an ordinance, which was notified on 25 September. One of the key features of the Act is making those assisting in the operation of online gaming, gambling, and betting liable for punishment.
The important point that is required to make a note is that- online gaming in the CM’s letter does not appear to mean playing multiplayer games like Among Us, or even competitive online games like Fortnite. This is apparent because the letter also states that while gambling or betting in the usual form can be easily identified, “online gambling and betting remains elusive.”
“This is where the role of ISPs can be termed as the assisting factor as the websites are not blocked. Stopping illegal gaming and betting is not possible without cooperation of ISPs. They should be instructed to block the websites to help the government curb the menace,” he wrote.
The list includes a number of online betting sites and “fantasy sports” platforms including MPL (Mobile Premier League) and Paytm First Games. It also leaves out many of the other “real money gaming” apps which feature games like Rummy and Poker.