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Report No. 276

(h) Telangana

The Telengana Gaming Act, 1974 5.68 The State of Telangana, introduced the Ordinances of June116 and July117, 2017 with the object of expressly prohibiting gambling as a whole, both online and offline.

5.69 The Telangana Gaming (Amendment) Act, 2017, amended the Telangana Gaming Act, 1974, incorporating the changes introduced by the abovementioned Ordinances, with the object of implementing "the policy of zero tolerance against gambling which has serious impact on the financial status and well-being of the common public".

5.70 The object behind this amendment is to "completely eradicate the menace of gambling, due to its ease of access and wide solicitation, several people, the youth in particular, are being addicted to online gaming when played for stakes etc., and this addiction is affecting various sections of society including students and women, thereby causing threat to the very public order itself".

5.71 The important changes brought about by this amendment can be summarised as follows:

a) The term, "cyber space" has been inserted in the definition of "common gaming house" in section 2(1)(ii) and in the Explanation to Section 2(1)(ii) to cover online gaming;

b) The Amended Explanation to section 2(2), widens the scope of proscription under this Act, and clarifies that wagering and betting now includes "any act of risking money on an uncertain event, including on a game of skill";

c) Now, the definition of "instruments of gaming" in section 2(4), includes within its ambit, online/ electronic instruments of gaming;

d) section 3 of the Telangana Act, now, not only proscribes the keeping, operating or using of common gaming houses, but also the keeping, operating or using of online gaming.

e) Now, all violations of the Act are 'non-bailable' and 'cognizable' under the Section 5.

f) The old section 15 exempted games of mere skill from the ambit of the prohibition contained in the Act. Now, the new section 15 empowers the State Government to issue orders to remove difficulties in implementation of the Act.

5.72 It must be noted that the Ordinances of June and July and the Telangana Gaming (Amendment) Act, 2017 have been challenged as being violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India. The cases are currently pending before the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad in W.P. Nos. 20261, 20323, 20352, 21643 and 23247 of 2017118.

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