With the Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy asking Union Minister RS Prasad to block 132 websites in the state, it is likely that a lot of online gaming websites might get banned by the government next and one such of them is EA.com. Reddy made this suggestion keeping in mind the danger posed by online gambling. Once such biggest and the most well-known game developers in the world are best known for its series of sports like FIFA and NHL along with mobile games like that of Bejeweled and Simcity – EA.com has been asked to be blocked.
Analyzing the letter sent by the CM to the IT minister, it is believed that several sites listed have nothing to do with online gambling at all. Since the ban of the Chinese app took place in June, the government of India has so far banned 224 apps on grounds of National security. Presently, the CM of Andhra Pradesh has asked in his letter for the ban of 132 websites with an argument that online gambling should be banned as it exposes the youth to vices like gambling and betting from their home itself through their mobile phones as well as computers.
Though this sounds legitimate, the matter of certain controversy is that many of the apps listed in the letter by the CM can be defines in many parts of the country as a game of skill and not a game of chance and hence, not seen as gambling. But, the point here is, the AP Gambling Act amended and includes online gaming, online gambling, and online gambling an offense that was notified this September. Apart from the non-popular apps controversy, the letter by the CM does not appear to mean playing multiplayer games like Among Us or competitive games like Fortnite.
The written letter also says that while betting or gambling the usual form can be identified – “online gambling and bettings remain elusive.” Similarly, on the other hand, multiple sites on the list have nothing to do while making or only we don’t. The AP Act main objective is to gain a ban on online gaming, online gambling, and online betting, and according to the letter sent by CM Reddy, he has requested the Union Minister and TechnologyRS Prasad for ban access to 132 website which enables online gambling from the people of Andhra Pradesh.
Even though the list includes numerous online betting sites along with fantasy sports platforms that include shows like MPL (Mobile Premier League) and Paytm First Games, it also leaves out several others that similar and based on the same concept. The list also leaves out several real money gaming apps like Rummy and Poker that features betting worth real money. If we look at a broader picture, industry giants like Google and Apple both have their own policies that leave out gaming on their app stores and also keeps real money gaming apps away from their stores.
For example, Paytm First Games was initially removed but then restored backed after two weeks only after the removal of the option to ad real money. Even after all these, in many parts of India, these apps and sites remain legal and are hugely successful. Apart from looking at what is missing from the list, the inclusion of various websites like Zapak, MiniClip, etc which are all well-established game sites offering free entertainment is what is concerning. EA.com which was on the list is also a site of a global video game company that does not have any kind of role in online gambling.