Tamil Nadu Cabinet Approves an Ordinance Banning Online Gaming With Stakes
The Tamil Nadu government filed an appeal with the Supreme Court earlier this month, challenging the Madras High Court's decision to overturn the state's ban on online games with stakes, like rummy and poker. As a result, the Tamil Nadu cabinet enacted an ordinance banning online gaming with stakes in the state. The cabinet has submitted the ordinance to the Governor of Tamil Nadu for approval.
The case was initially addressed by the Madras High Court, which overturned the state's ban on internet gaming in August 2021. Following this, the Kerala High Court and Karnataka High Court also overturned the ban on online rummy and poker. The High Courts ruled that the legislation to prohibit internet gaming was against the constitution.
The Tamil Nadu government appeals the case to the Supreme Court
Following the Madras High Court's decision, the Tamil Nadu government filed an appeal to the Supreme Court in December 2021. Three months following Madras High Court’s decision, the Karnataka government also filed an appeal with the Supreme Court regarding the same.
It is worth noting that the Tamil Nadu government moved against the Madras High Court's decision to overturn the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021. The act attempted to outlaw online rummy and poker in the state. However, the High Court overturned the ordinance, ruling that the state government can regulate these games differently. As a result, the Tamil Nadu government established a new committee to oversee internet gaming in June 2022.
The state government claimed that the amendment act qualifies as gambling legislation rather than online gaming legislation. The Tamil Nadu government further claimed that even though rummy is a skill-based game, it is considered gambling as it involves stakes. This classification has been a point of contention, and industry groups such as the Esports Players Welfare Association have requested the state government to separate skill-based games and gambling.
Following the case brought against the Madras High Court's order, a Supreme Court panel of Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Vikram Nath issued a notice to different industry stakeholders, including gaming corporations and the All India Gaming Federation, to ask for their suggestions in the matter. The notice was sent to the stakeholders, and given four weeks to respond with their suggestions.
The categorization of skill-based games and gambling games has been an issue in the industry for a long time. As a result, a panel under the Indian Prime Minister also submitted a proposal to create a new regulatory body for both games of skill and games of chance in September 2022.