Despite ban on online gambling, Andhra man dies by suicide after incurring debts

The man's father said that they had already paid at least Rs 8 lakh by mortgaging his wife’s gold and their house.
Sateesh who took his own life
Sateesh who took his own life
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A 33-year-old man from Visakhapatnam took his own life after incurring huge debts in online gambling, according to his parents. The deceased was identified as M Sateesh, a resident of Kothapet in Gopalapatnam mandal. He was working as a fitter with the Naval Dockyard in Vizag. Though Sateesh died on Saturday, the incident came to light recently.

According to the police, Sateesh had a debt of Rs 15 lakh. Unable to repay the money, he allegedly took his own life. Sateesh’s father said that they had already paid at least Rs 8 lakh by mortgaging his wife’s gold and their house. Out of Sateesh’s salary of Rs 35,000, Rs 30,000 went towards interest, his father told the media. The family said that despite their intervention, Sateesh was addicted to online gambling and had lost a lot of money.

Acknowledging that online gambling had turned into a menace in the state, the Andhra Pradesh government had recently banned online gambling. The state government in September amended the AP Gaming Act - 1974, imposing harsh penalties for the offenders. Under the new law, the offenders would be awarded a punishment of six-month imprisonment, and two-year jail-term for repeat offenders.

However, despite a ban, many betting and gambling websites are still accessible in the state. Gambling websites like Rummy Online are still accessible when TNM checked on Monday.

On October 27, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote to IT and Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking for a ban on 132 gambling websites in the state. Jagan informed the Union Minister that Andhra Pradesh had amended the AP Gaming Act, 1974, which includes online gaming, online gambling and online betting as an offence through the Andhra Pradesh (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.

“The main objectives of the amendment to the Act is to ban online gaming, online betting and online gambling. It is made a cognizable offence punishable under the Act. Moreover, the managing directors of all the online gaming companies and those involved in running the company are liable for punishment under the Act,” Jagan had said. He added that online betting led to suicides due to loss of money, severe addiction and consequent violent behaviour.

Earlier this month, the Tamil Nadu government too had banned online gambling after a spate of suicides in the state involving online gambling and betting. “The Tamil Nadu government taking a note of the situation has decided to swiftly pass legislation for arresting people running the apps and those playing the gambling games that involve betting money,” Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami had said.


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