Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, Andhra Pradesh Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party’s (YSRCP) Minister for Energy took a dig at Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) leader Nara Lokesh as the latter enjoys playing poker. TDP leader and son of former Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, Lokesh defended himself by saying, “Yes, I do play poker with my friends and what is wrong with it?” The minister questioned what was wrong in engaging with poker and visiting casinos.
Reddy reportedly said that N Chandrababu Naidu and Lokesh have been robbing Andhra Pradesh and hiding it abroad. These accusations were followed by Reddy stating that Lokesh could not even win as a ward member and that he runs a poker club along with former Minister Pathipati Pullaro. Reddy further added that he contributed INR 1 Crore for the development of Ongole during the pandemic from his own pocket. These accusations were followed by YSR’s general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy slamming TDP’s chief, Naidu for trying to provoke people for political mileage and that Naidu’s language conveys his frustration.
Meanwhile, in October 2020, the Andhra Pradesh state government passed the ordinance for banning and criminalizing all forms of real money online gaming, including poker and rummy. This ban was imposed right after neighbouring Telangana criminalized online gaming involving money.
The Constitution of India has provided the authority to each state to make its own gambling laws. This refers to the fact that there are numerous state-specific deviations. For example, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala have banned online games. Most of the states in India are subject to the Public Gambling Act of 1867 and the Technology Act of 2000. The IT Act of 2000 made provision for several offences relating to virtual activity, although there’s no mention of online betting being illegal but only physical gambling.