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States free to decide on illegal betting websites, Delhi HC anti-betting PIL subjudice, says Minister

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Reply to question on banning online betting websites

Union Minister for Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad tabled a reply to BJP MP Sudheer Gupta’s unstarred question in the Lok Sabha on whether the centre intends to ban online betting websites.

Responding to Gupta’s query, Prasad stated that “Betting and Gambling” are State subjects as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India. States/UTs are primarily responsible for prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of crimes related to betting and gambling through their law enforcement machinery.

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On the question of the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court against online betting and poker websites filed by social activist Avinash Mehrotra, the Minister responded by stating that the matter was subjudice, with the Ministries of Information Technology and Finance and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) being respondents in the case.

Prasad did not give any specific response on what the central government’s stand will be in the matter, but the reply in parliament indicates that the centre has effectively left it to individual state governments’ to decide on how they wish to tackle the issue of online gambling and betting.

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