CHENNAI: Online gambling including online rummy is likely to be banned in Tamil Nadu as a State Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday approved an ordinance for the same. It will be promulgated once Governor RN Ravi accords his assent.
According to sources, the ordinance would ban online gambling but not online gaming. “Online games would be regulated,” the sources added. The draft ordinance had been prepared based on a School Education Department survey on the impact of online gaming on school students, and the opinions of the public received via emails and consultation meetings. On August 29, this draft ordinance was placed before the State Cabinet, and was approved after further fine-tuning.
On June 10, the State appointed a committee headed by retired Judge K Chandru to advise the TN government on promulgating an ordinance on banning online gaming. The panel’s recommendations were also placed before the State Cabinet on Monday.
The panel had received inputs from parents, think-tanks, teachers, students, psychologists, social activists and online gaming service providers on the proposed legislation. Sources said that almost all the feedback from the public was in favour of a ban on online games, while the political parties wanted a blanket ban. However, think-tanks and industry stakeholders suggested the games be regulated instead.
While a blanket ban is not legally tenable, the government may look into restrictions on age and time spent on the games so as to counter addiction. The demand to place curbs on online games cropped up after Tamil Nadu reported 20 cases of deaths by suicide, during the past three years allegedly due to online gambling.
This also comes as the Union government constituted an inter-ministerial task force to regulate the online gaming industry. The Centre is consulting with States on a legal framework for a separate legislation or changes in the existing one. Meanwhile, official sources told TNIE that the State Cabinet discussion was limited to the contours of the proposed legislation.
Public bats for ban on online games
Sources said almost all feedback from the public was in favour of a ban on online games, while political parties wanted a blanket ban. Think-tanks and industry stakeholders said games be regulated instead