The Madras High Court was informed during a PIL hearing against online rummy on Wednesday that the State of Tamil Nadu is contemplating introducing a law to ban or regulate online gambling.
The announcement came due to various suicides across the state.
"The government Is contemplating serious action. The Chief Minister has come out with a statement that there shall be a complete ban on online gambling", AAG Rangarajan informed the Court.
Rangarajan said that the state is working out the details of the law, and the law may be issued through an ordinance, as the assembly is not in session. He added that the court may record his statement that the law will be passed by the state, which is working on the way it will be done.
"We appreciate the statement made by the Chief Minister", Justice Kirubakaran responded, as per a report in Barand Bench. The court also expressed concerns over the timeline of the process, "How long will it take? Every day lives are lost.... Why don't you come with a memo on what steps are contemplated? We want a commitment. When the CM says, it is final. There is no problem at all, but when?"
The court criticized endorsements of online gambling platforms by celebrities, “... all these people, celebrities, are becoming ambassadors for these kinds of things. And we are told that one cricketer has got so many followers - if he appears in an advertisement, ten thousands will follow. In our country, hero-worshipping is there...and in Tamil Nadu, cinema (actor) means finished... Even if one person who has acted in a movie (endorses such games) - immediately, he will become the future of Tamil Nadu."
Appearing for the respondent, senior advocate PS Raman informed the court that three online rummy platforms have submitted a representation to the state of Tamil Nadu to consider the stakeholder’s point of view while working on the regulation. The representation also covered how such games are regulated worldwide.
The bench observed that the India audience cannot be compared with that in Western countries for this matter, as the people in India are not as well informed.
Raman also spoke about the safety measures used by such platforms, e.g. ending a user’s game when they lose Rs 4,000-5,000.
The bench adjourned the matter after directing the state to file an affidavit by November 24 about the timeframes and steps involved in the banning/regulating of online gambling. The Central government has also been asked to share their views on the issue.
The bench observed, "If these Centre passes a law regulating online rummy, there may be conflict." The court suggested that the Centre could pass a comprehensive legislation on the issue.
Recently, Tamil Nadu’s chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had announced that the state will take steps to ban online gambling.
Tamil Nadu is following suit after states like Andhra Pradesh recently banned betting on online games like rummy, poker, and fantasy sports.