A committee headed by former Madras High Court Judge, Justice K Chandru, recently submitted a report to the government, expressing their views to pass legislation for a total ban on all online card games, including rummy. Even though gambling is banned in TN, it is highly likely that people will continue to gamble outside of the state. The committee felt that those states, whose laws have been struck down by the courts, could approach the Union government under Section 252 to enact central legislation dealing with the banning of such online card games. and that the state could then enact the same. High courts in Madras, Karnataka and Kerala have rejected state amendments to police and gambling laws.
Official sources said the state is reviewing the obstacles that many states face in banning/regulating online gambling. “The Madras High Court’s observation in terms of lack of empirical evidence or stakeholder consultation prior to legislation has also been taken into account. The discourse around the game of skill and the game of chance is also taken into account. New legislation is being prepared and it should be legally sustainable and feasible for implementation,” said an official familiar with the developments.
Incidentally, the GST Council, at its 47th meeting in June, had directed that a Group of Empowered Ministers (GoM) on Casinos, Racetracks and Online Gambling review the issues within its terms of reference based on new States’ contributions and submit its report. in a short time. The GoM had previously recommended increasing the GST rate from 18% to 28%.
Official sources told TOI that a section of the state government is against a total ban given the revenue generated by online gambling services. Discussion focuses on imposing a ban on certain online games and regulating acceptable game of skill, while the category of players, hours of play and age restrictions are under consideration .
In TN, online gaming peaked during the Covid lockdown. The Justice Chandru committee reported that online platforms that hosted rummy and similar games had 20,000 to 25,000 frequent users per month playing rummy. A popular online platform reported that one to two lakh users play rummy for free per month and among them, 10,000 to 20,000 play games involving real money and wagers between 200 and 500 every day. Eight American studies have reported that problem gamblers have the highest suicide rate of any addictive disorder