National Crime Records Bureau data compiled by think tank PRS Legislative Research shows that Andhra Pradesh reports the highest number of 2,67,718 gambling cases in the country from 2007-12.
Madhya Pradesh came second with a distant 1,14,828 and Maharashtra third with 65,622 cases of gambling. Arunachal Pradesh and Lakshadweep did not have any gambling cases, while Delhi reported 2,177 cases during the period.
The Constitution of India specifies that laws related to gambling can only be enacted by state legislative assemblies. Most states have based their anti-gambling laws on the lines of an 1867 Central law. Most states do not allow gambling, but allow betting on horse races. However, there are states like Goa and Sikkim, which have legalised gambling by passing specific laws to that effect in their legislative assembly.
Andhra Pradesh has reported an increased number of gambling cases, according to the State Crime Records Bureau. Anantapur, Krishna, Vijayawada, West Godavari, East Godavari, Kurnool and Prakasam districts are notorious for their gambling dens, with the maximum number of cases reported from these districts.
Hundreds of crores are changing hands here in cockfights, teen patti (a game of three cards) and other unauthorised gambling practices, in violation of the AP Gaming Act.
Under the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act of 1974, most forms of gambling are illegal within the State. However, horse racing, rummy and State-run lottery are allowed within Andhra Pradesh. The State has recorded a fair amount of cases of arrest and/or fines, but the fines tend to be small and
typically only repeat offenders
of those who run gambling
houses receive more serious
A total of 87,988 cases of gambling were reported in 2012 as against 83,533 in 2011 with an increase of more than 5,000 cases. Anantapur tops the list with around 11,199 followed by Krishna with 10,207 and West Godavari, with 9,962 cases.
For an activity to be construed as gambling, each of the following three elements has to be proved in most cases: skill, uncertainty and consideration.
Interestingly, in many parts of Andhra Pradesh, the local police, in connivance with the gambling den organisers and clubs, turn a blind eye. Cockfighting, pigeon racing and teen patti are common violations in coastal Andhra districts like Krishna and Godavari.
Police raids and case registrations maximise during the Sankranti season, when incidents of violations are reported increasingly. In some cases even policemen have been caught red handed while playing cards, some on duty like in the West Godavari district.
The Supreme Court in
the landmark case State of Andhra Pradesh Vs VK Satyanarayana and others (1968 AIR 825 1968 SCR (2) 387) while looking into whether playing rummy in clubs and charging fee for the same can be construed as gambling observed:
“The game of rummy is not a game entirely of chance like the ‘three-card’ game mentioned in the Madras case to which we were referred. The ‘three card’ game, which goes under different names such as ‘flssh’, ‘brag’ etc, is a game of pure chance. Rummy, on the other hand, requires a certain amount of skill because the fall of cards has to be memorised and the building up of rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards. We cannot, therefore, say that the game of rummy is a game of entire chance. It is mainly and preponderantly a game of skill.”
In AP Mathur’s book Commentaries on Gambling Acts in India, he has broached on The Andhra Pradesh (Telangana Area) Gambling Act, 1305 and The Andhra Pradesh (Andhra Area) Gaming Act, 1930.
Fuelled by the 140-year-old Public Gaming Act, which punishes public gambling, and the Information Technology Act, which requires service-providers to crack down on online gambling, law enforcement agencies have so far targeted bookies and companies with criminal and civil lawsuits.
The hue and cry over IPL and spot fixing might seem unnecessary to gambling-prone Andhra Pradesh!