Madras High Court overturns Tamil Nadu’s amendment law banning high-stakes online gaming – Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment


India: Madras High Court overturns Tamil Nadu amendment law banning high-stakes online gambling

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The High Court of Madras, see its ordinance of 3 August 2021 on Junglee Games India Private Limited v Tamil Nadu State, rescinded Part II of the Tamil Nadu Gaming & Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 which amended the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 to ban games such as rummy and poker on high stakes cyberspace, by la declaring it unconstitutional.

The verdict was delivered while allowing a batch of written requests filed by a multitude of private companies offering online games challenging the legal validity of the ordinance promulgated by the government of Tamil Nadu banning online betting and betting in the cyberspace. The amendment includes in its scope all sports activities, if they are contested for a prize, whether between two class teams in a school or between two schools in an inter-school competition, if there is a trophy to be won.

The Court noted that there appears to be a little doubt that rummy and poker are both games of skill as they involve considerable memory, calculating percentages, the ability to follow cards on the board. table and constantly adapt to the changing possibilities of the invisible. cards. Poker may not have been recognized in any previous judgment in this country as a game of skill, but the evidence in this regard, as it emerges from the US case, has even convinced the Law Commission to accept poker as a game of skill in its 276th report. .

The Court held that by imposing a broad general ban, the state had failed to meet the “least intrusive” measure and, therefore, the amendment violated Article 19 (1) ( g) of the Constitution of India, which grants the right to exercise any profession, or to exercise any occupation, trade or business. She further considered that the amendment itself was capricious, irrational, excessive and disproportionate.

While rescinding the amendment in its entirety to be ultra vires the Constitution, the Court added that nothing herein shall prevent appropriate legislation consistent with the constitutional sense of propriety from being enacted in the area of ​​betting and gambling. games by the state.

Comment from Alpha Rajan and his partners:

The gambling industry in India is struggling due to the lack of a unified law dealing with gambling. Each state has a different legal position, as the power to legislate on betting and gambling is a subject state. to the Constitution of India. Games of chance, including games of chance, are prohibited in most states. However, a game of skill has been differentiated from a game of chance although this distinction is not clear and Indian courts rule on the basis of the facts of each case. This judgment should be welcomed by most industry players as it invalidated the law which irrationally banned online gambling without distinguishing between skill gambling and gambling on the basis of legal precedents as defined by the courts. in India.

Originally posted Aug 5, 2021

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