Nashik head cop demands stringent anti-gambling law

Nashik Police Commissioner Deepak Pandey has once again stated that online gambling apps should be banned and punishment should be increased for the offences of gambling. The police officer said that the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act should be imposed on such activities. Deepak Pandey, an IPS officer of the 1999 batch, took over the charge of Nashik police in 2020.

In September, the Nashik Commissioner of Police submitted a detailed report to the Legislative Estimates Committee recommending amendments to the existing Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887. Pandey said they have booked 14 cases in the past three months on roulette gaming operators and the legislative committee had responded favourably to their report.

These apps fall under gambling under the Maharashtra gambling laws and these apps don’t comply with GST laws,” said Pandey while addressing reporters in Hindi. He also said that these apps are not certified or registered under any Indian law and showcase themselves as games of skill based on a certification from UK based software companies. Pandey said the skill gaming apps must be licensed or certified by a regulatory authority in India.

People are becoming addicted to these games and losing money, the police officer said. He cited an example of a gaming addict who became a chain snatcher to meet his gambling money requirements. The existing law provides for a sentence of three months to two years. The Nashik police head said that the minimum punishment must be increased to 3 years.

In September,  the State Relief and Rehabilitation Minister Vijay Vadettiwar had called for a ban on online gambling apps. Vijay Vadettiwar then said that he would discuss the matter with the Home Minister. In the past three years, several states had enacted stringent laws to restrict online gaming activities including the Maharashtra neighbours Karnataka and Telangana. A petition is currently pending before the Bombay High Court for the declaration of ludo as a game of skill.