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UPI payments of Rs 50 for gaming to be banned: Report

The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) will permanently ban all gaming transactions under Rs 50 that are processed by the Unified Payments Interface, the Economic Times reported. The change is reportedly aimed at moderating UPI payment volumes that has surged in the wake of the pandemic, leading to increasing bank outages.

In the past few weeks,there has been a rise in small-ticket transactions among gaming merchants. This is especially true given that the Indian Premier League 2021 kicked off on April 9 and will go on until May 30. Companies like Dream11 and Mobile Premier League, which let users place bets on their own fantasy teams, witness high usage during the IPL season.

According to the report, the gaming industry is exploring ways to appeal the ban, and have approached the NPCI through industry bodies including FICCI and IAMAI. The online gambling / real-money gaming industry operates on small ticket transactions, as most users bet small amounts on fantasy teams and matches.

The restrictions come as the India plans to scrap the Public Gambling Act, 1867 and mandate states to come up with their own laws to control gambling. States are continuing to consider their own bans and restrictions on real money gaming and online gambling. While gambling is a state subject and states are free to form their own laws, many states fall back on the colonial-era Public Gambling Act, which differentiates between games of skill and chance, exempting the former from punishments.

Apart from Uttar Pradesh, states like Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, and Uttarakhand fall back on the Public Gambling Act. While Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala have recently tightened laws around gambling to bring online gambling within the legal ambit, the Uttar Pradesh government has started the process to enact a new law to regulate gambling, including online gambling.

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Andhra Pradesh prohibited all games involving stakes, whether skill or chance based as did Tamil NaduKerala tweaked its gambling law to remove a provision that declares rummy as a game of skill. Other states, including RajasthanGujaratKarnatakaMadhya Pradesh are also contemplating restrictions for online real-money games, gambling, and betting. Meghalaya has gone the opposite, it has created a licensing and regulatory regime permitting all games of skill and chance, in a bit to collect more tax revenue.

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