By Rupin Chopra and Apalka Bareja
With a rise in the availability and accessibility of technology and gadgets, one has seen a rapid increase in the online gaming apps available for users. A few factors for such uncalled growth and popularity of these apps are convenience, ease of use, and accessibility. These rapid developments have given rise to new conundrums where users are susceptible to online betting scams with ease.
Despite the recent developments in Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 20211 for online gaming, it has been reported that apps like ‘The Mahadev Book online betting2’ have managed to scam people by performing unholy work under a holy name.
It is further reported through various news houses that the promoters of Mahadev Book are currently in custody having been arrested as per section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,20023 (PMLA) for the commission of the offense of Money Laundering under section 3 of the PMLA, 2002.
In light of the investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) unveiling the app’s unlawful operations, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued blocking orders on November 05, 2023 against 22 illegal betting apps (The list of names of the apps blocked is not available in the public domain as of yet).
The orders to block the apps were issued by MeitY under Section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 20004. The said section empowers the Government to block information from public access under the following conditions5:
i) Interest of sovereignty and integrity of India
ii) Defense of India
iii) Security of the state
iv) Friendly relations with foreign states
v) Public order
vi) Preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense relating to above
Even with amended rules being established, appropriate and stringent guidelines and examination system is a need of the hour. MeitY’s action of banning the apps undoubtedly does restore faith of the people in the Government and provides a sense of assurance and safety. Illegal betting can lead to numerous issues including fraud and exploitation. By taking action against these apps, the center is likely sending a clear message that they prioritize the well-being of the citizens and are committed to maintaining fair and regulated environment.
4 Information Technology Act, 2000- https://www.meity.gov.in/writereaddata/files/itbill2000.pdf