Speaker asks if Guv Ravi returned online gaming bill under pressure

Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly M Appavu slammed Governor RN Ravi for returning the bill banning online gaming to the House.
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi (File photo | PTI)
Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi (File photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly M Appavu slammed Governor RN Ravi for returning the bill banning online gaming to the House. Addressing reporters at his chambers in the secretariat on Friday, he wondered if the governor was under some pressure to not assent to the bill. 

M Appavu
M Appavu

Responding to a question on the matter, Appavu pointed out that the governor had previously approved an ordinance banning online gambling but was now returning a bill on the same subject, displaying inconsistency. He stressed that the bill was carefully prepared based on the work of a panel led by retired judge S Chandru that studied the matter.

“I don’t know if he (Ravi) is under some pressure not to give his assent to the bill,” Appavu said. He referred to recent comments made by the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting in Parliament confirming that the decision to ban online gambling falls within the jurisdiction of the state government. “Hence there is no question about whether the state government has the right to do so,” he said. 

Stating that there is no skill involved in the games that were to be banned, he said it was the businessmen behind the online gambling companies that are skillfully looting money from the people and highlighted the harmful consequences of online gambling.

Elaborating on the background of the bill, Appavu said an ordinance prohibiting online gambling, wager-based online games of chance of rummy and poker was promulgated by the governor on October 1, 2022, and notified in the gazette on October 3. 

Bill not in violation of the Constitution, says Murasoli

The state assembly met on October 17 last year for a brief session and the bill was passed, he recalled. Meanwhile, the DMK’s mouthpiece, the Murasoli, in an editorial published on Friday contended that the state government had informed the governor that the bill had been drafted in accordance with the relevant sections of the constitution, including betting and gambling, public order, public health, theatres, and dramatic performance under List 2 of the 7th schedule. The editorial piece asserted that the bill is not in violation of the constitution.

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