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Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Ban: Governor Gives Nod Amid Rising Political Uproar Poker
Kumar Shubham
Posted on 10 Apr, 2023
By Kumar Shubham
On 10 Apr, 2023
By Kumar Shubham
On 10 Apr, 2023

Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Ban: Governor Gives Nod Amid Rising Political Uproar

In a recent development regarding the online gaming ban, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi today has reportedly approved a bill prohibiting online gambling in the state. It happened just hours after the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution requesting that the Central Government set a deadline for the governor to give his assent to the bill.

As per reports, following a significant increase in unfortunate incidents in the state due to online rummy, the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022 was passed for the second time in the assembly on 25th March 2023. The governor had returned the bill after more than 120 days when it was first sent for his assent, claiming that the government lacked the authority to pass the bill.

Reportedly, M. K. Stalin, the state’s Chief Minister, announced that the same bill would be introduced in the assembly again after receiving clarification from Law Minister S Regupathy. Stalin added that the Governor will have to provide his assent this time, citing Article 200 of the constitution.

This decision to ban online games comes as a huge victory for the Tamil Nadu government and various stakeholders who have been seeking a ban on online gaming in the state. Reportedly, any person found violating the new rules will have to pay a fine of ₹5,000 and face imprisonment for three months.

ALSO READ: TN Governor Approves Ban On Online Gaming In The State

Roland Landers, CEO of the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), stated hours after the bill was passed, “The Tamil Nadu government has passed a law that will result in banning most online games of skill, including rummy and poker. What this law, in effect, does is treat and conflates games of skill as gambling and games of chance. The law also completely misunderstands technology and prohibits random number generators, which are an integral part of fairness for online gaming. This is disappointing as it disregards the six decades of established legal jurisprudence and also the recent judgment of the Madras HC which struck down a similar law. The Central Government has anyway notified the online games rules, and as we have said, the Central Government has the rightful mandate under the Indian Constitution to regulate online gaming.”

He further added, “As the apex industry body for online gaming, we at the All India Gaming Federation have been engaging with the Tamil Nadu government to understand their concerns and have also made them aware of the proliferation of offshore gambling websites and apps which flourish when constitutionally protected India apps are banned, as was also seen during the previous unconstitutional ban by the state government.

We had provided various consumer protection and other measures which stopped short of an outright ban. In such a scenario this is unfortunate. What is also surprising is that the State government has already appealed the judgment of Madras HC and the SC had recently issued notices last year. Instead of waiting for the SC judgment and in the meantime respecting the categorical decision by their own HC, they seem to have taken another unconstitutional decision which will eventually only benefit online gambling operators.”

Landers also stated that AIGF would further challenge the law, saying, “As the oldest and largest industry body, representing the most number of Indian MSME start-ups, we will challenge the constitutionality of the law, once the effective date is notified and have full faith that our judicial system will uphold the fundamental rights of the gaming platforms and their users.”

The Governor’s first refusal to give assent to the bill drew the attention of various political parties, who were constantly seen questioning the Governor’s decision. Justice K Chandru, the head of the panel that recommended a ban on online gaming, had questioned why the Governor had promulgated the ordinance in the first place and resisted giving the bill his approval.

He also stated that the Tamil Nadu government will follow its own legislation, which could lead to a conflict between the Centre and the States. In the meantime, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) amended the rules governing online gaming.

For more news and updates, keep reading Gutshot Magazine. Follow us on FacebookInstagramTwitter, and Telegram.

Image credit: Deccan Herald

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