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Tamil Nadu Ordinance Banning Online Gambling Is Challenged

An ordinance recently issued by the government of Tamil Nadu banning online gambling has been challenged in the Madras High Court.

An ordinance recently issued by the government of Tamil Nadu banning online gambling has been challenged in the Madras High Court.

The first bench of acting Chief Justice T Raja and Judge D Bharatha Chakravarthy, before which the All India Gaming Federation’s PIL petition, by its general secretary Sunil Krishnamurthy, was raised on Thursday, adjourned the case until November 16.

The written petition was aimed at declaring the Tamil Nadu Ordinance No. 4 of 2022 – the Online Gambling Prohibition and Online Games Regulation of Tamil Nadu – unconstitutional.

The petitioner alleged, inter alia, that the authorities issued the contested regulation which specifically categorizes rummy and poker as games of chance, while they are games of skill.

As such, they would not fall within the scope of “betting and gambling”. In fact, in its 276th report, the Law Commission of India had categorically stated that these were games of skill as more skilled players will always win over the less skilled or novices. This was also reiterated by this High Court in Junglee Games and this ruling was not upheld by the Supreme Court.

The ordinance will force several members of the petitioners’ association to shut down their business activities in Tamil Nadu, the petitioner argued and tried to shut down its organisation.

The government of Tamil Nadu had issued the ordinance last month to ban online gambling and regulate online games in the state and said an online gambling authority will be established to exercise the powers conferred by the ordinance.

Online games and gambling devastated families, led to suicides, caused a gambling addiction that affected public health, disrupted social order and prejudiced the maintenance of law and order. Hence the need for the regulation, it had said at the time.

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