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Gujarat may introduce new law to ban online gambling

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The Gujarat government has initiated preliminary discussions to explore the possibility of amending the existing gambling legislation, i.e. the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act to cover online gambling and betting, as per a report in the Times of India.

The proposed changes to the existing laws are being discussed at the request of the Ahmedabad police department officials who felt that the current laws mainly cover gambling and betting in physical locations and are not stringent enough.

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Ahmedabad police commissioner AK Singh confirmed that the Gujarat home department and officials of the CID crime branch have held a meeting to discuss changes to the existing gambling laws. Singh added that the state government is working on the issue so as to ensure that people indulging in online gambling are dealt in accordance with law.

The police commissioner added that the current gambling act does not give the department enough power and also discussed about banning the game of poker.

Various police commissionaires in cities of Gujarat such as Rajkot, Surat, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar etc. recently issued orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 37(3) of the Gujarat Police Act to ban the game of PlayUnknowns’ Battlegrounds (PUBG) within their respective jurisdictions citing adverse impact of the game on the health of children and youth.

In December 2017, a single bench of the Gujarat High Court had ruled that the game of poker was one which involved chance and consequently playing the game amounted to an offence under the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act. A challenge to the order is pending before the division bench of the High Court which is expected to hear the matter on 20th June.