In a highly surprising move several online gaming websites including the likes of EA.com and Miniclip looks set to be banned by the Andhra Pradesh (AP) Government. It is learnt that the AP Chief Minister, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in a letter has asked the Union Minister RS Prasad to block 132 websites in the state owing to the rise in online gambling.
What is baffling is the fact that the letter to the IT Minister though includes the names of several sites including EA.com and Miniclip who have nothing to do with online gambling. EA.com and Miniclip are in fact amongst the largest and most well-known game developers in the world.
This comes on the back of the Central Government banning more than 220 Chinese applications on the grounds of ‘national security’. The letter from CM Reddy reads that online gambling websites should also be banned because it leads “to youth getting involved in vices like gambling and betting from the comfort of their homes, through their mobile phones and computers."
The fact to note is that unlike in other states where online gaming is included under ‘games of skills’ and hence is not gambling; online gaming is an offence in Andhra Pradesh. The State Government had recently declared online gaming, online gambling and online betting as illegal under the AP Gambling Act 1974.
The list also includes the ‘fantasy games’ platforms like Mobile Premier League (MPL) and Paytm first games. The discrepancies here are also clearly visible as many other fantasy platforms based on the same concept didn’t make the list. The list also fails to include ‘real money games’ like Rummy or Poker which clearly feature online betting with real money.
More concerning than what’s missing from the list is what has been included in the list. The likes of Miniclip, EA.com, Zapak are well established game developing companies and don’t promote gambling by any means.
This move from the AP Government has surely doled out a huge blow to the ever growing e-sports industry in India. E-sports and online gaming are seen as the future and might well be included in the Olympics in near future. A move like this at such time will surely hurt the budding e-sports industry in India and push it to a corner.