The Tamil Nadu Cabinet on Monday approved an ordinance to ban online gaming in the state. On getting the Tamil Nadu governor’s approval the ordinance would be promulgated in the state.
Roland Landers, CEO, The All India Gaming Federation, said, “Based on news reports we understand that the Tamil Nadu government has approved an ordinance to ban certain or all online games of skill. This is disappointing because it disregards the 6 decades of established legal jurisprudence and also the recent judgment of the Madras HC which struck down a similar law.
As the apex industry body for online gaming we at the All India Gaming Federation have been trying to engage with the 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.
We had provided various consumer protection and other measures which stop 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 on the same.
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.
“We will wait for the final bill to comment in detail and decide our next course of action,” he added.
Earlier, the Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Aniruddha Bose had sought response from gaming firms such as Junglee Games, Play Games24x7, and the Head Digital Works and industry body All India Gaming Federation on the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal seeking restoration of the ban.
The Tamil Nadu government said that as for compliance with Article 14, the 2021 Amendment Act is reasonable as it “makes a clear-cut classification between online games played for financial or other valuable stakes and other games” and the classification has a “rational nexus with the stated object of the impugned Act in countering ruinous addiction to gambling activities, which has led to numerous suicides and other economic and social harms. Neither can the impugned Act be described as manifestly arbitrary, since its enactment was guided and supported by a body of data and administrative experience describing the ill-effects of gambling addiction in society,” the state government said.