Andhra Pradesh, the eighth-largest state by area and tenth-largest state by population, is carrying the GSDP of US$110 billion. Having a coastline of 974 kilometers, this south Indian state is bordered by Odisha in the north-east, Telangana in the north-west, Karnataka in the west, Tamil Nadu in the south. Even though it is rich in agricultural, pharmaceutical, automobile, and textiles industries, the Andhra Pradesh state is not open to gambling from all viewpoints. Gambling laws in Andhra Pradesh is mainly governed by the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974 and Public Gambling Act, 1867.
Lottery and horse racing are the legal forms of gambling in most of the Indian states. Due to the liberal government policies the Andhra Pradesh state carries, betting on horse racing, lottery and rummy are legal in Andhra Pradesh. Plus, the channel is half-open for tote and pool betting. The win-only wagers that can be found at most bookmakers are not allowed in this state. However, sports betting are illegal here.
As per the police department, a large number of people living in Hyderabad and nearby towns are involved in gambling. Several arrests were made in the past years. But, the fines and penalties were not significantly severe, as the state carries liberal policies for gaming and gambling. There are some clubs in Hyderabad which rakes as much as $17,000 per day through gambling. The state earns thousands of dollars in taxes from betting products such as horse racing. In adherence to the National Crime Records Bureau, Andhra Pradesh is the leading state concerning the gambling cases recorded. From 2007 and 2012, over 260,000 cases filed in the state.
The state cabinet has recently released its Gaming, Animation, Media & Entertainment Policy 2015-2019. This law states that the gaming industry was constrained by several factors like the lack of proper motivators and the lack of infrastructure for animation studios. The newly introduced policy aims at the foundation of a high-tech gaming city as well as an animation studio. Hence, it will work in turning the Andhra Pradesh state into the most preferred destination for investment in gaming.
As per some of the top-rated ministers, the casino is an excellent opportunity to earn substantial revenue for the state. So, the casino culture is slowly making its way. It is expected that the enthusiasts may be able to wager on their favorite games like casino and poker at a world-class gaming facility in Vizag. The cabinet has taken the initiative to sign an MOU with UK’s Eros Investments Limited. A $300 million entertainment center will be founded in the initial phase. Honorable Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh is now trying to clear the political hurdles for setting up a multibillion-dollar gaming center in Vizag.
Betting on cricket is not permissible under the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act of 1974, but it has been a million dollar business. Illegal bookmakers in the state are thriving millions of dollars in sports and cricket betting. Apparently, the Indian Premier League is the leading name in the range of leagues. The police department has been busting the groups associated with cricket betting. Even the paan and cigarette shops have now engaged in organizing betting on cricket matches. Over 30 such shops in Hyderabad found guilty in this context.
Poker is a game of skill in the state of Andhra Pradesh. As per the declaration made by Supreme Court, rummy is not entirely a game of chance. It requires a specific set skill since cards had to be memorized while building up. The SC has observed: “[I]f there is evidence of gambling in some way, or that the owner of the house or the club is making a profit or gain from the game of Rummy or any other game played for stakes, the offense may be brought home.” The Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court, on April 13, 2017, rejected the plea for non-interference made by four clubs from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The judge in his order noted, “It is difficult for anyone to say what is happening inside the premises. When the fish is in water, it is commonly said that it is difficult to prove whether fish is drinking water or not. In such circumstances, the better option for the Courts is to apply the law only whenever the cause of action arises on the facts of a particular case in the light of the provisions of the Act, but not on mere apprehension, assertions and denials.” Nevertheless, rummy was a primarily a game of skill.
Andhra Pradesh has a liberal approach to horse racing – the Sport of Kings. It is one of the most preferred pass times in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Driven and directed by Hyderabad Race Club, Hyderabad Racecourse is the main center of horse racing in this state. Located in Malakpet, this Racecourse hosts some of the prestigious races in the country including Invitation Cup and Derbies Cup. Most of the races held in monsoon, from July to October. Some other races like India Gold Cup and Nizam’s Gold Cup are held between November and February.