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Andhra Pradesh to ban gambling and gaming sites - what's EA doing on the list?

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Close on the heels of India's ban on PUBG Mobile as part of an anti-China posture, a state government is moving in to block a further 132 websites with a view to curtail online gambling. The Andhra Pradesh government has listed out the websites to be blocked that includes some popular ones including game developers Electronic Arts. 

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has requested the Federal IT minister R S Prasad to get these 132 websites blocked, citing the danger it posed in the form of increased online gambling. Reddy made this request through a letter to the central minister earlier today. 

Block gambling, but why victimise gaming?

According to the letter that was accessed by Gadgets 360, not all the websites have to do with gambling. This includes EA.com which is one of the most popular game developers in the world that makes games like FIFA, NFL and even mobile games like Bejeweled and SimCity. 

The letter from the Andhra chief minister appears to be taking up where the federal government left off over India's crackdown on Chinese games and apps in June. In the letter he says online gambling needs to be banned as the youth were getting involved in betting from the comfort of their homes, using phones and laptops. 

Some of these websites involve “games of skill”, and are not classified as “games of chance” in the some parts of India. In September the Andhra government amended the AP Gambling Act, 1974, to denote online gaming, online gambling, and online gambling as an offence. 

But the letter does not include multiplayer games like Among Us, or competitive ones like Fortnite and PUBG PC. But it does state that, “online gambling and betting remains elusive.” The list needs scrutiny as it includes gaming websites of EA and Epic Games. 

But it does include the “fantasy sports" platforms including MPL (Mobile Premier League) and Paytm First Games. At the same time it misses out on some "real money gaming" apps that include games like Rummy and Poker. Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store rules do not allow online gambling. And Paytm First Games was embroiled in a controversy regarding the same recently.

Bodhisatwa Ray

Hardcore gamer, gadget enthusiast & cinema buff | Gaming, tech correspondent & reviewer at TechRadar