The Tamil Nadu government on Friday promulgated an ordinance to ban online gaming activities that includes rummy and poker with immediate effect .
The state joins Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in stopping online gaming activities, following pressure after several suicides relating to online gaming losses.
A press statement released last Friday by the Tamil Nadu government said: "Due to online gaming, innocent people mainly youngsters are being cheated and some people have committed suicide. In order to avoid such cases of suicide, and protect innocent people from the evils of online gaming, the government has submitted a proposal to the Governor to promulgate an ordinance by amending the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930; Chennai City Police Act 1888 and the Tamil Nadu District Police Act 1859."
The ordinance includes banning operators, players involved in electronic transactions of money used for wagering or betting and distributing winnings, and prize money online.
Like previous efforts to ban online gaming, it is hard to know how successful these efforts will be with the industry notoriously hard to police. Andhra Pradesh's ban doesn't attempt to block apps or sites.
However, the Tamil Nadu ban, with a focus on targeting operators, puts the likes of online rummy and poker operators in a difficult spot. It remains unclear whether fantasy sports will be affected.
And there are clear signs that Karnataka will become the fourth big south Indian state to ban online gaming.
The state's Home minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Friday: "Online games are ruining many lives in the state. We have noticed it. Many illegal gambling and betting websites have mushroomed during the lockdown. We need to put an end to such a menace."
"What is more worrisome is that our youngsters have become addicted to this type of gambling. Many have lost their properties. I appeal to parents and elders to come out and register a complaint against online platforms if any youngster is addicted to gambling and forcing them to give away their properties", Bommai said.