Ordinance bans online gambling in Tamil Nadu; jail and fine for violators

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Chennai: Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has promulgated an ordinance banning online rummy, similar games that promote online gambling and also levy fines, a jail term for violators. This move has been on expected lines, given that the state government had informed the Madras High Court that efforts were on to ban these games.

The ordinance would ban the persons who are wagering or betting in cyberspace using computers or any communication device or resource and the people who are found gaming will be punished with a fine of Rs 5000 and six months imprisonment.

Those who open/keep common gaming house will be fined Rs 10,000 and two years imprisonment and ‘electronic transfer of funds’ used for wagering or betting, distribution the winnings, the prize money has also been banned. This ordinance also punishes the persons who are running the companies that conduct online gaming by wagering and betting. 

The ordinance has been promulgated by amending the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930, Chennai City Police Act, 1888 and the Tamil Nadu District Police Act, 1859.

In the first week of November, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had assured that his government was working on taking measures to ban online rummy and other gambling games that were getting youth addicted, spoiling their life and sometimes even claiming their lives.

He said this while addressing the media in Coimbatore, during a visit to review the measures against COVID-19 and also to oversee the implementation of government schemes.

“All measures are being taken to bring in a law that will punish those who organize or play online rummy and online gambling games,” Palaniswami said, adding that this was being done considering public welfare.

In recent months, cases had been filed in the Madras High Court seeking action against both online rummy, gambling games and violent video games and the State Government had responded saying that it will consider the possibilities.

A few months ago, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had observed that the Central and State government’s could pass laws that ban games that involve money such as Online Rummy, other online card games across India.

The court drew a parallel to the Telangana government Ordinance amending the Telangana Gaming Act 1974 banning online Rummy. This meant that users playing real cash games from the state are prohibited from doing so.

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Amid the lockdown, as gadget and internet use shot-up significantly, it has been pointed out that more youth are signing up for such games and in some unfortunate cases they have ended up taking their own lives. Political parties in Tamil Nadu had also voiced their opinion against these games, calling for their ban.

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