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In a significant step to effect a ban on real-money games in Tamil Nadu, Governor Banwarilal Purohit has promulgated an ordinance banning online gaming, following the state government’s decision. Like the ordinance that was passed in Andhra Pradesh, there are provisions for fines and jail terms for violators.
On November 6, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami had announced that the state government was considering banning online gambling. It seems that now the die has been cast, making this the third state in the south (after Telangana and Andhra Pradesh) pushing for a complete ban on real-money online games.
As per the ordinance, those found playing real money games will be punished with a ₹5,000 fine and six months imprisonment. Those offering such online games in the state would be considered as running common gaming houses and would be punished with a fine of ₹10,000 and two years’ imprisonment.
The ordinance also bans the electronic transfer of funds used for wagering and betting, distributing the winnings, prize money, etc. – all but spelling a complete ban on real-money gaming.
It also states that all persons running the company which conducts online gaming by wagering and betting for state residents would be punished.
An official statement from the Raj Bhavan noted that innocent people, mainly youngsters, were being cheated due to online gaming. Some had even taken an extreme step after suffering heavy losses in online games.
“Due to online gaming, innocent people, mainly youngsters, are being cheated, and some people have committed suicide. In order to avoid such incidents of suicide and protect innocent people from the evils of online gaming, the Government has submitted a proposal to the Hon’ble Governor to promulgate an ordinance by amending the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1930), Chennai City Police Act, 1888 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1888) and the Tamil Nadu District Police Act, 1859 (Tamil Nadu Act XXIV of 1859),” the statement added.
This effectively makes Tamil Nadu the third south-Indian state, after Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, to ban online gaming. Being the third-largest state in the south, Tamil Nadu banning online gaming is a massive blow to the gaming industry that primarily comprises poker, rummy, and fantasy sports operators.
The largest southern state, Karnataka hasn’t officially banned online gaming yet but seems to also be considering doing so. Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai revealed that the state government is also considering promulgating an ordinance to ban online games.