CHENNAI: The State government may promulgate an Ordinance soon to ban online games involving betting and gambling and may regulate games that are addictive in nature by restricting the time and money spent on them by users.
Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu on Saturday held a discussion with top officials on the recommendations made by a high-level committee headed by retired Judge K Chandru to regulate such games. The committee submitted its report to Chief Minister MK Stalin on June 27.
According to sources, as a total ban on all online games could face tough legal hurdles, the State may come up with access restrictions to limit the time spent on online games such as once in a day or in a week. Even the quantum of money that could be spent on online games could be restricted.
Sources said the challenge before the State is that addiction to online games is growing like a social disorder, and at least 17 gaming-related suicides have been recorded across Tamil Nadu over the past three years. Even the World Health Organisation has termed gaming a disorder.
The Centre has also constituted an inter-ministerial task force to regulate online gaming industry and is holding consultations with States on bringing out a separate legislation or changes in the existing legislation to regulate the industry.
While online games can be banned, the major technical challenge would be to control internet access, sources told TNIE. Hence, the goal would be to regulate the companies involved in gaming or the players involved in gaming. Social pressure could be brought on the players through awareness drives in schools, sources said.The number of gamers in India is close to 400 million and is expected to reach 700 million by 2025.
The panel’s report pointed to the impact of online games at the societal level and how these games propel adolescents to misuse their parents’ credit cards, etc. Political parties have been urging the government to enact a law expeditiously to ban these games. Home Secretary K Phanindra Reddy, DGP C Sylendrababu, IT Secretary Kumar Jayant, and Law Secretary Gopi Ravikumar took part in the meeting.