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Andhra Police requests blocking of Playwin website in surprise directive; decision likely to be contested



In a sudden move, the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has written to the Central government run Computer Emergency Response Team India (CERT-IN) seeking a ban access to  online lottery website MyPlaywin in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Playwin lotteries are run by multi-billion dollar Essel Group, which has diverse interests in media, infrastructure, hospitality, entertainment, lotteries and gaming.

As per media reports, the Andhra Pradesh CID has decided to take this step based on a complaint to the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission and a directive by the human rights body to the state Chief Secretary. However, it is unclear if such a directive would be legally tenable as the laws on banning internet lotteries remain ambiguous. Playwin is a licensed lottery operator running lotteries in more than half a dozen states under the Lotteries (Regulation) Act, 1998 and rules framed thereunder in 2011.  No provision under these laws exists for blocking licensed lotteries. Provisions under the Information Technology Act, 2000; Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011 and a 2003 Ministerial Central Government Order on blocking of websites allow an order of blocking of websites to be passed by the CERT. These provisions can be interpreted to block access to gambling websites, but it is unlikely that blocking of a licensed lottery website would be legally tenable under the said provisions .

Further, Playwin accepts participants only from states where lotteries are legal as per the terms and conditions on their website and hence the directive to block the website does not make much sense. Additionally it may not be practically and logistically possible to bar access of websites to only particular states and blocking of any website is a long drawn procedure. It may be remembered that the Bombay High Court ordered the CERT-IN to block betting website Betfair in 2010 within three months, but the order was never enforced (possibly due to practical difficulties) and Betfair can be accessed in India even today.

Officials of Essel Group run Playwin lotteries declined to comment stating that they are currently examining the legality and propriety of the police order. However it is clear would be a major controversy and debate on the legality of online gaming if the CERT goes ahead with the request of blocking of Playwin’s website.

Jay has researched extensively on gaming laws and has been cited by various media houses and journals as an expert. He has helped leading newspapers in their stories on gaming laws. Jay completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS, Kolkata in 2015 and is currently based out of Mumbai.




    March 5, 2014 at 9:25 am

    What is the progress of MCA case in supreme court after 30-4-2013

    • Jay Sayta

      March 5, 2014 at 10:53 am

      MCA case is still pending, next listed for 07-04-2014.

  2. Amol

    March 6, 2014 at 8:21 pm
    Check this link. The number of crorepatis in last 2 years. This year jackpot winner of Thursday Superloto is not declared no announcement that the jackpot is hit.So the decision is correct. Thorough Audit of the lottery system is to be done from expert team.

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