Mr. Roland Landers, CEO of All India Gaming Federation said: “The Tamil Nadu government has passed an ordinance that will ban most games of skill online, including rummy and poker. In fact, this ordinance treats and contrasts games of skill as games of chance and games of chance. This is disappointing as it ignores 6 decades of established legal case law and also the recent Madras HC judgment which struck down a similar law.
As the leading body of the online gaming industry, we at the All India Gaming Federation have engaged with the government to understand their concerns and also made them aware of the proliferation of gambling websites and apps. offshore gambling that flourish when India’s constitutionally protected apps are banned. . We had planned various consumer protection measures and other measures that stop short of an outright ban. In such a scenario, it’s a shame. What is also surprising is that the state government has already appealed the judgment of Madras HC and the SC had recently issued notices about it. Instead of waiting for the judgment of the SC and while waiting to respect the categorical decision of their own HC, they seem to have made another unconstitutional decision which will ultimately only benefit online gambling operators.
In recent years there have been many judgments in the courts in favor of these games and they were considered games of skill with no luck. The legal case law emanating from the Supreme Court over the past 60 years is very clear that games of skill are not gambling and that offering games of skill is a legitimate activity protected by the Constitution. Indian. This has been repeatedly reiterated by various High Courts. Moreover, the High Court of Tamil Nadu has already issued a detailed judgment striking down the Tamil Nadu law which banned online games of skill, as unconstitutional. The Court clarified that any restrictions on games of skill, whether online or offline, whether stakes or not, must be narrow and that the state must try to regulate rather than prohibit. . The Court also strongly criticized the state government for passing the law as a populist measure in the run-up to state elections, without following established law.
The ban may have a negative effect on the state and will drive more and more people to illegal offshore websites. The sector needs the support of state governments now more than ever.Mr. Landers further added“India is the fifth largest online gaming market in the world and skill-based gaming, a booming industry, is spawning a growing number of unicorns in the country. The sector has been a major financial contributor to the Indian economy even during an unprecedented downturn and is further expected to generate revenues of over $5 billion by 2025. Any form of ban will impact the overall activity of an industry, as will the overall ecosystem of online skill games due to the recent TN order.
As the apex body in the online games of skill industry, AIGF has been at the forefront of ensuring global best practices for its stakeholders through the Gaming Self-Regulatory Charter of address which covers all aspects of the activity of online games, supervised by a board of experts. AIGF and all professional players sincerely hope that the government of Tamil Nadu listens to the concerns and seriously reconsiders the ordinance.