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Cabinet gives nod, TN to soon bring ordinance to regulate online gaming

The government move came more than a year after the Madras High Court struck down the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act 2021, which had imposed a broad ban on wagering or betting in cyberspace.

It would be promulgated once the Governor R N Ravi gives his assent, the government said. (File/ representational image)

The Tamil Nadu Cabinet approved on Monday the government’s decision to bring an ordinance to regulate online gaming in the state. The ordinance will soon be promulgated with the Governor’s approval, an official statement issued after the Cabinet meeting said.

The government move came more than a year after the Madras High Court struck down the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act 2021, which had imposed a broad ban on wagering or betting in cyberspace.

In its order dated August 3, 2021, the HC had declared the then-AIADMK government’s legislation outlawing games like rummy and poker excessive and disproportionate to the object sought to be achieved.

In December last year, the DMK government led by Chief Minister M K Stalin challenged the HC decision in the Supreme Court. It also constituted a committee led by a retired Madras HC judge, Justice K Chandru, to advise the state on enacting a new legislation to prohibit or control online gaming.

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In his report submitted on June 27, Justice Chandru recommended a ban on online card games despite the fact that the government was looking into the possibility of combining a ban with some regulatory measures.

The committee, however, said the state may request the Centre to enact a law on the issue, which all states must then abide by.

The Justice Chandru committee report also presented a picture of the online gaming scenario.

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It said an estimated 20% of the Indian population plays online games, compared to 60–70% in the United States. Currently, the Indian online gaming market is worth around Rs 80,000 crore and predicted to reach Rs 1.5 lakh crore by 2024.

South Indian states have a greater addiction to online games, it said. Citing market data, it said in Tamil Nadu the number of people playing rummy online increased from 20,000 to 25,000 on a monthly basis during the Cocid lockdown.

While one to two lakh users play free rummy games on Junglee Games in the state, about 20,000 of them choose to play for real money, placing an average daily wager of between Rs 200 and Rs 500.

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According to the report, even Niti Aayog sees the gaming industry as a major source of revenue when the money from online game players is converted into the profit of online game companies.

First published on: 26-09-2022 at 08:35:56 pm
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