Yesterday, the media agency Moneycontrol reported that skill gaming industry body The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), along with gambling companies Gameskraf, Games24x7, and Head Digital Works, will take legal action against Tamil Nadu’s anti-gambling law, which was approved by Governor R.N. Ravi and came into effect on April 21. The Madras High Court is to hear the case on April 27.
Industry Body Files Petition, Claiming Tamil Nadu’s Gambling Law Violates Three Articles of the Indian Constitution
On April 10, Gov. Ravi gave assent to the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Act, under which playing online games of chance, including poker and rummy, is illegal. The law ruffled the feathers of the industry body The All India Gaming Federation and some gambling companies, which claim the law is unconstitutional.
As a result, the AIGF, Gameskraf, Games24x7, and Head Digital Works decided to legally challenge the constitutionality of the law at the Madras High Court. AIGF filed a written petition seeking interim relief. In its petition, the AIGF claimed that games such as poker, chess, rummy, fantasy sports, casual games, and esports are games of skills.
The industry body wants the operation of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Gambling Act to stay. It also urges the court to declare the law unconstitutional as it lacks legislative competence and violates the Constitution. The high court is to hear the case on April 27.
In an interview with Inc42, AIGF secretary Roland Landers said that the gambling law, which Tamil Nadu’s government passed earlier this month, is unconstitutional as it bans games of chance. He added that the law does not comply with the established jurisprudence and is based on an incorrect understanding of technology. The petition claims that the law violates Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The New Rules for Online Gaming Prohibit Games Involving Wagering
Earlier this month, the Tamil Nadu government approved a bill under which online gambling is prohibited in the southern state. The ban also covers poker and rummy, which reignited heated debates over the constitutionality of the law. The law also stipulates that those caught playing online games of chance for real money will face a fine of INR 5,000 or imprisonment of up to three months.
Operators who target Tamil Nadu residents may receive up to three years of jail sentence and a hefty fine of INR 100,000. As reported by BonusInsider several days ago, some online poker and rummy platforms have already blocked Tamil Nadu residents from playing real-money games.
On April 6, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) introduced the rules for online gaming after months of consultation. Under the institutional framework, a self-regulatory organization (SRO) will determine whether online games would be permissible. Besides, the government will initially appoint three SROs, comprising industry representatives, educationists, and other experts.