New Delhi: In a first of its kind step, Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday banned online gaming, online betting and gambling.Also Read - Andhra Family Treats Future Son-in-Law With 365 Different Types of Food on Makar Sankranti

The state has also urged the Centre to direct all internet service providers to block access to 132 websites and apps, including Paytm First Game, Mobile Premier League and Adda52, which are providing such services in the state. Also Read - Night Curfew Imposed in Andhra Pradesh, Theatres to Operate at 50% Capacity | List of Fresh Curbs Here

Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy in a letter to IT and telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on October 27 raised concern over online gaming and online betting fast catching up as a severe social evil leading to youth getting involved in vices like gambling and betting from the comfort of their homes through their mobile phones and computers. Also Read - Andhra Pradesh Govt Announces 23.39% Pay Hike to Employees, Hikes Retirement Age by 2 Years. All You Need to Know

The chief minister submitted a list of 132 websites and apps which the state believes are involved in offering services like gaming, betting and gambling online.

The list, however, does not include Dream11, the main sponsor of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, which also provides online gaming and gives chance to its users to win cashbacks.

Reddy in the letter informed Prasad that the state has amended the AP Gaming Act 1974 “to include online gaming, online gambling and online betting as an offence through Andhra Pradesh (Amendment) ordinance 2020” and notified it on September 25, 2020.

“The main objectives of the amendment to the Act is to ban online gaming, online betting and online gambling. It is made a cognizable offence punishable under the Act. Moreover, the managing directors of all the online gaming companies and those involved in running of the company are liable for punishment under the Act,” Reddy said.

The chief minister said that online betting and gaming have led to widespread despair amongst the public suicides due to losing money, severe addiction and consequent violent behaviour in case of any restriction.

He said that under the new act, those assisting the operation of online games are liable for punishment and the role of internet service providers can be termed as assisting these firms in case they do not take steps to block access of concerned websites and apps.

“I would request you to direct all the internet service providers to block all online gaming, gambling and betting websites and apps from access in Andhra Pradesh,” Reddy said in the letter.

(With inputs from PTI)