In a significant move to curb illegal online activities, the Indian government has recently banned 174 betting and gambling apps, marking a major step in regulating digital transactions and online gaming in the country.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been at the forefront of this initiative, having blocked a total of 581 apps to date. This list includes not just betting and gambling apps but also 87 loan lending apps and popular gaming applications such as PUBG and GArena Free Fire.
This decisive action comes in the wake of a blocking order against 22 ‘illegal’ betting apps and websites, including well-known names like Mahadev Apps. Pankaj Chaudhary, the minister of state for finance, highlighted this development in a statement to the Lok Sabha, as reported by The Economic Times.
Why the Ban?
The crackdown on these apps is rooted in a series of investigations and reports. A notable revelation in October indicated the operation of 114 illegal betting and gambling apps in India through domain farming. Following this, in February, the government blocked 138 such illegal betting and gaming websites.
The Centre’s amendment of the IGST Act in July further tightened the noose around offshore gaming companies. This amendment mandates all such companies to register in India and grants the Centre the authority to block websites violating this law.
Illegal Transactions and Hawala
A significant concern leading to these bans is the method of transaction these platforms employed. Many were found to be using UPI payments routed through proxy bank accounts. The amounts accumulated were then allegedly transferred via hawala, Crypto Casinos, and other unlawful channels.
List of Some Banned Apps
Prominent among the banned apps are Parimatch, Fairplay, 1XBET, Lotus365, Dafabet, and Betwaysatta. While some were operating illegally, others were on the banned list due to regulatory non-compliance. These gaming providers are famous for their extensive libraries of online slots.
In a recent statement to the Lok Sabha, the minister of state disclosed that no offshore companies have registered in India post the October 1 amendment.
The Indian government’s move to ban 174 betting and gambling apps is a clear message against illegal online gambling and betting activities. This step not only aims to regulate the online gaming landscape but also seeks to protect the financial integrity and security of Indian users. As the digital space evolves, such measures become crucial in safeguarding against illicit activities and ensuring a safe online environment for all.
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