Madras High Court doubts law banning high-stakes online gambling will stand the test of the law


The Madras High Court on Friday doubted that the Tamil Nadu (Amendment) Gaming and Police Act of 2021 to ban games such as rummy and poker played with stakes in cyberspace would stand the test of the law. He said the law was very poorly drafted and it appeared that the government also imposed a blanket ban on skill games simply on the basis of its sense of morality just before the assembly elections.

Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy told Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram that the government has not conducted any studies on possible adverse effects and that there is no empirical data available with the government. to make such a decision. They said there also did not appear to have been a full debate in the assembly before the law was passed in February this year.

“There is no doubt that you have the power to pass a law on the subject. We’ll also give you the benefit of the presumption that you’re doing it for the good of the people, but that doesn’t mean you can crack the whip beyond acceptable parameters. This law seems to ignore previous case law in this area. It seems to be confusing and confusing, ”the Chief Justice said.

He went on to say: “Gambling is an activity the outcome of which is purely based on chance and not on skill. Gambling is completely different from gambling. Here, the law seems to have been drafted at random with one party disagreeing with the other and not even addressing the issue you want to address. He also said the court should see if the state was arbitrary in preventing a player from displaying his talent.

Pointing out that some card games such as contract bridge were purely games of skill that require a very high intelligence quotient (IQ) to play them, the Chief Justice said Egyptian actor Omar Sharif was an authority in the field. contractual bridge and that he had made a fortune by exploiting his trade. Won’t a general state ban on gambling violate the rights of people like him to display their skills, the chief justice asked.

On the other hand, the GA told the court that some people in the state had committed suicide after losing a lot of money due to their addiction to online games and that one person had gone so far as to attempt to kill his daughters when they refused to donate money. Chief Justice Banerjee was quick to respond: “Just because a mad man did such a thing doesn’t mean you can impose a blanket ban on all skill games.

Previously, a battery of senior attorneys including Abhishek Manu Singhvi, AK Ganguli, C. Aryama Sundaram and PS Raman appeared for various companies that offered online games and attacked state law. Mr Raman said the government chose to impose a blanket ban on online rummy, poker, etc. simply because seven deaths had been reported in the past five years due to gambling addiction.

Claiming that around 20 people die each year in Jallikattu, he said, a state that wants such a sport to continue despite a Supreme Court ban has chosen to ban online gaming only because seven people died in five years. Further, questioning the logic behind the ban on online games alone, he asked, “How can an event that is not a crime in the physical world become a crime in the virtual world?” The senior lawyer insisted that the law be struck down in its entirety.

After hearing them, the judges adjourned the case to Monday for the GA to continue its arguments.


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