Tamil Nadu to ban online gambling
IMAGE Source: news 18.com

Last month, on Jan 6 i.e. Thursday, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu MN Stalin has addressed in the assembly that the government will soon be going to ban online gambling in the state. He explained in his reply to a question raised by opposition AIADMK member V Vaiithilingam, said that a law was enacted by the previous government banning online gambling in the state last year.

The previous government has already moved an ordinance to "ban online gaming" which involved betting promulgated by the k Palaniswami-led in November 2020 for the protection of the youth. The previously said ordinance was promulgated by Governor Banwarilal Purohit based on the proposal by the state government.

Three people allegedly committed suicide in Coimbatore in November 2020 after losing a lot of money playing online rummy.

Due to online gaming, innocent people, mainly youngsters, are being cheated and some people have committed suicide. In order to avoid such incidents of suicide and protect innocent people from the evils of online gambling. 

The government proposal mentioned.

Last year the first bench Madras High Court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthil kumar Ramamoorthy passed the order on Tuesday Dec 10, 2021 to strike down the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act passed in 1930 and Police Laws (Amendment Act) 2021 which has banned playing online betting games like rummy or poker with stakes on the writ petition filed by companies who run online gaming.

The bench stated it as the ban against on Article 19(1) (g) of the Constitution (right to practice any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade, or business).

The legislation assailed has to be regarded as something done capriciously and irrationally. It was excessive and disproportionate…This court, therefore, strikes down the amendment in its entirety as ultra vires the Constitution.

It added.

The bench lastly granted liberty to the state government to pass another legislation. For this, it added, ...“nothing in this judgment would prevent the state government from introducing an appropriate legislation confronting the Constitutional principles of propriety.” 

A day after the quashing order by the bench, Tamil Nadu Law Minister S Ragupathy said the new legislation will be passed soon to ban the games in the state to maintain public welfare. 

He stated that following the demand of DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin, the then ruling AIADMK government urgently enacted an amendment to the Act on November 21, 2020, to ban the online rummy game.

He further added that although the government puts forth its views on the ban of online games, the High Court had said that the government did not specify enough reasons when the law was made and without formalising the rules, online gaming can’t be banned.

Unfortunately, the trend has shifted as people put their lives at risk after losing money.

To make a strong impact of the ordinance on the public the government enacted punishment which includes fines of Rs 5000 and imprisonment of 6 months for those who found "gaming", Rs 10000 fine and 2 years imprisonment for those who operate the common online gaming platforms. The ordinances further include a ban on the electronic fund transfer used for wagering or betting, prize money and distributing the winnings and punishing the companies which maintain online iGaming business by gambling and betting.

The Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021, which prohibits online betting games like rummy and poker with stakes, was quashed by the Madras High Court in August 2021. People were losing their whole savings in online betting games, according to the state authorities. They stated that while rummy is a skill game, betting on it turns it into gambling.

The state administration appealed the Madras High Court's decision to the Supreme Court in December 2021.