Madras HC strikes down the entire Tamil Nadu Gaming Act

On Tuesday, the Madras High court passed a judgment striking down the amendment to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act which banned online games including online rummy, online poker and other skill-based games where money is at stake. The Madras HC said that the Court is not against these games, and stated that nothing in this order will prevent the government from introducing appropriate legislation on the issue conforming to Constitutional principles of  propriety. 

As per TOI, the court passed the order on the basis of bunch of pleas made by online gaming companies which challenges the logic of the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021. They further emphasised that they had been running legitimate business across the country, and since it is legitimate in other parts of the country, therefore they cannot be banned in Tamil Nadu. Game of rummy is allowed to be played in physical form, therefore it  cannot be banned for online and it is not same to betting or gambling like three cards, the petitioners added.

“Since 1968 the Supreme Court has made it clear that rummy is a game of skill and not a game of chances. Therefore, online rummy cannot be banned,” the companies said.

However the state opposed the statement and shared that the youth’s are facing monetary loss as they are draining their earning and savings for the game, and a game when played for stakes is gambling.

Observing the entire debate, the first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy shared that the legislation is ‘excessive and disproportionate’ to its object. Therefore, the TN court announced the verdict striking down the amendment to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act which banned online games .

Commenting on the judgment, All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers states, “We welcome the order of the Madras High Court which iterates that the Court is not against online gaming, and calls for the government to devise a regulatory framework to provide clarity to the  sunrise online gaming industry with a view to encourage investments leading to technological  advancements as well as generation of revenue and employment. As the oldest online skill gaming industry body, the All India Gaming  Federation (AIGF) has most of the stakeholders of the online gaming industry as its members. We at  AIGF have been at the forefront of ensuring global best practices for its stakeholders through the self regulation skill games charter that cover all aspects of the online gaming business, overseen by an advisory of experts. To reinforce its process, AIGF has also partnered with Arthur D. Little (ADL) and  looks forward to wholeheartedly supporting and offering its expertise and experience if required to  the Government in this endeavor.”