Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) founder Dr S. Ramadoss has demanded that central and state government ban online rummy and other online gambling sites that he argues are pushing the young into debt and poverty.
Ramadoss said in a statement that: "A lot of youngsters have lost their jobs and are forced to sit at home due to COVID-19 lockdown. Majority of the youngsters who are employed are also being asked to work from home. Colleges students and youngsters who are running out of things to keep themselves occupied are being targeted by these online gambling websites.
"Every day, when we open our phones, gambling websites advertisements enticing us with Rs. 10,000 as credit to start playing rummy, promising lakhs in return, can be seen. Loneliness due to lockdown and incentive of earning lakhs of rupees make young people susceptible to gambling and makes them an addict."
He added: "Many gambling addicts are spending money saved in the family for occasions or for investing in businesses for gambling. Unable to repay the money taken as loan, some of them even take the drastic decision of taking their own lives."
Ramadoss also argued that making online gambling legal would make economic matters worse, but like many of his charges, no evidence or data was provided to back up that assertion.
This is the second major call in a month from a public figure to ban online rummy. In Andhra Pradhesh, CPI state secretary K Ramakrishna wrote to chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy seeking a ban on the game.