Anantapur: Karnataka will no longer be a safe haven for gamblers from Andhra Pradesh, with its Legislative Assembly approving a new bill on Tuesday under which all gambling centres and clubs will not be allowed to run.
Previously, Karnataka police could not take any action as gambling was considered a game of skill. But the new law makes it illegal.
A large number of habitual gamblers from AP are regulars in Bengaluru city and border areas of Karnataka. Most of them are from Visakhapatnam, coastal areas and the four districts of Rayalaseema. These gamblers, including women, had shifted to neighbouring Karnataka after AP government banned gambling in the state, including at recreational clubs.
Dachepalli in Guntur district used to be a major centre for gambling during Telugu Desam regime. There were many recreation clubs in AP, where gambling used to go on. These have been shut down after YSRC came to power. Incidentally, Anantapur Officers Club had been raided two years ago and a large number of officials detained for gambling. Following a swoop down on gambling, a large number of habitual gamblers from Andhra Pradesh shifted their activities to Bangalore city and border areas of Karnataka.
But curbs on gambling have been placed even in Karnataka now. Interestingly, Chief Minister B.S. Bommai, while discussing an amendment to the bill banning gambling, mentioned that gambling dens have been noticed in border areas of AP. Others who participated in the discussion pointed out that a large number of gamblers from AP come to clubs in the state capital.
With the amendment that has been brought in, Karnataka police can now book gamblers under non-bailable sections. Gamblers and organisers can also be imprisoned under the new law.
A person from AP closely involved in gambling activity, on condition of anonymity, said thousands of gamblers, including women from Rayalaseema and coastal areas, frequent recreation clubs in Karnataka capital and indulge in different types of gambling.
“The daily turnover of each club is more than ₹ 25 lakh. The club ends up with a profit of ₹ 5 lakh daily,” he stated. He pointed out that many habitual gamblers, who are businessmen and big farmers from Pulivendula, Nandyala, Vijayawada and Anantapur areas, even have permanent accommodation in Bangalore.
Under the new law, Karnataka has banned all gambling activities, including games of skill and online gambling. Cyber crime and civil police have been given additional power to curb gambling activities....