The new gambling law prohibiting users from Tamil Nadu from playing poker and rummy online came into effect on April 21. On April 10, Governor R.N. Ravi gave assent to a bill, which seeks to prohibit online gambling and classify poker and rummy as games of chance.
With the Governor implementing the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, online rummy and poker platforms, such as A23, Classic Rummy, and PokerBaazi, have started blocking users from Tamil Nadu.
Why Poker and Rummy Platforms Ban Tamil Nadu Residents?
Only four days ago, the law banning online gambling, including rummy and poker, became effective. As a result, platforms that offer online poker and rummy have started blocking customers from Tamil Nadu. Some of the sites that have already restricted Tamil Nadu residents from playing poker and rummy online are A23, Classic Rummy, and PokerBaazi.
According to Tamil Nadu’s law, anyone caught playing games of chance online will have to pay a fine of up to INR5,000 or serve a prison sentence of up to three months. Those encouraging people to gamble online will face a fine of up to INR500,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year. The punishments for operators who accept players from Tamil Nadu include a fine of up to INR100,000 and three years prison sentence.
The ban on online poker and rummy has revived the debate about whether individual states are allowed to adopt such prohibitions. Tamil Nadu’s strict stance on the matter clashes with the central government’s soft approach toward gambling. Besides, the ban raises another question regarding the difference between luck-based and skill-based games.
Tamil Nadu’s Anti-Online Gambling Act
Several people committed suicides after incurring massive debts because of gambling, and hence why Tamil Nadu’s government decided to ban online gambling. On October 1, 2022, Governor Ravi promulgated the ordinance under which online gambling is illegal in Tamil Nadu. Almost three weeks later, a bill replacing the ordinance was adopted by the Assembly and sent to the Governor’s desk for approval.
On March 6, 2023, the bill was returned by the Governor to the Assembly, explaining that the state government lacks legislative competence to create such a bill. On April 10, Tamil Nadu’s Governor R.N. Ravi finally signed the bill seeking to prohibit online gambling. Under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, poker and rummy are games of chance, and Tamil Nadu’s residents are not allowed to play them.
But Tamil Nadu is not the only state banning online poker and rummy. Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, and Karnataka are also seeking to prohibit skill-based games, classifying them as games of chance. However, some of these bans were overturned after industry associations challenged them in state high courts.