Tamil Nadu to hold consultations to ban, regulate online games | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government is set to hold consultations with stakeholders to ban and regulate online games as the number of people ending their lives because of huge losses due to online rummy increased to 20 on Wednesday since 2020. So far, seven deaths have been reported in Chennai and its suburbs, eight in Coimbatore, Salem, Tirupur and Namakkal, four in Tirupattur, Vellore and Dharmapuri and one in Tuticorin.
A committee led by former judge of Madras high court Justice K Chandru had submitted a report to the government recently, expressing its view to bring in legislation for a total ban on all online card games, including rummy. Even if the game is banned in TN, there is every likelihood of people continuing to play outside the state. The committee felt that those states, whose laws were rejected by the courts, could approach the Union government under Article 252 to enact a Central law dealing with the ban on these online card games and thereafter the state could adopt the same. Madras, Karnataka and Kerala high courts rejected the state amendments to police and gaming laws.

Official sources said the state was looking at the hurdles faced by many states in banning/regulating online games. “The observation of Madras high court in terms of lack of empirical evidence or stakeholder consultation before legislation has also been taken note of. The discourse around the game of skill and game of chance also is being factored in. A new legislation is under preparation and it should legally be sustainable and feasible for implementation,” an official privy to the developments said.
Incidentally, the GST council in its 47th meeting in June had directed that an empowered group of ministers (GoM) on Casino, Race Course and Online Gaming re-examine the issues in its terms of reference based on further inputs from states and submit its report within a short duration. The GoM had earlier recommended increasing the GST rate from 18% to 28%.
The official sources told TOI that a section in the state government was against a total ban given the revenue the online gaming services fetched. Discussion is on imposition of ban on certain online games and regulation of acceptable game of skills, while category of players, hours of play and age restrictions are being looked into.
In TN, online gaming peaked during Covid lockdown. The Justice Chandru committee reported that online platforms that hosted rummy and similar games had 20,000- 25,000 frequent users per month playing rummy. A popular online platform reported that one to two lakh users were playing free rummy per month and of them, 10,000- 20,000 playing games involving money and bet in the range of `200 and `500 every day. Eight studies from the US reported that problem gamblers have highest suicide rate of any addiction disorder

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