An ordinance enacted recently by the Tamil Nadu government banning online gambling has been challenged in the Madras High Court.
The First Bench of Acting Chief Justice T Raja and Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy, before which the All India Gaming Federation’s PIL petition, presented by its General Secretary Sunil Krishnamurthy on Thursday, adjourned the case until November 16.
The Petition in Brief sought to declare Tamil Nadu Ordinance No. 4 of 2022 – the Online Gambling Prohibition and Regulation Ordinance of Tamil Nadu – as unconstitutional.
Among other things, the petitioner argued that the authorities enacted the impugned ordinance specifically categorizing rummy and poker as games of chance, when they are games of skill. As such, they would not fall under “betting and gambling”. In fact, the Law Commission of India, in its 276th Report, had categorically stated that these are games of skill, as the more skilled players will always win over the less skilled or the novices. This had also been reiterated by this High Court in Junglee Games and this judgment had not been suspended by the Supreme Court.
The order will compel several members of the petitioners association to cease their business activities in Tamil Nadu, the petitioner argued and sought to suspend his activities. The Tamil Nadu government had enacted the ordinance last month to ban online gambling and regulate online gambling in the state and said an online gambling authority will be established to exercise the powers conferred by order.
Online gambling and betting has ruined families, led to suicides, caused gambling addiction affecting public health, disturbing social order and detrimental to the maintenance of public order. Hence the need for the prescription, it was said then.
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