The Indian state of Tamil Nadu has passed a new bill to ban online gaming in spite of last week’s IT law amendments. The state is firm in its belief that regulation will not solve the gambling problems it faces.
In Tamil Nadu, the so-called Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling & Regulation of Online Games Bill was just cleared by Governor Ravi. This marked the second time he had been sent this bill and followed earlier attempts to crack down on gambling.
The government said that it will not ban down on its decision, despite the newly-introduced IT rules. For reference, last week an amendment introduced changes to existing IT regulations in the state that provide the regulatory framework for online gaming.
In spite of that, the head of Tamil Nadu’s online gaming panel, Justice K Chandru, favors the introduction of a blanket ban that would ban all gaming. He believes that introducing a regulatory framework would be insufficient.
Chandru said that the only way forward, he believes, is banning online gaming. He argued that regulation will still allow people to play online, which would mean that the state would experience no real change.
The Bill Was Previously Delayed The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling & Regulation of Online Games Bill was passed by the government in October 2022. However, Gov. Ravi did not sign it into law because he wasn’t sure if the state can actually pass it. He returned the bill on March 6, 2023, asking for additional clarifications, despite receiving clarifications in November 2022.
The bill has the full support of the DMK-led government and will ban all online money games in the state. As a result, it would any operator offering such products from providing them in the province.
While gambling is usually a state subject in India, the passing of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling & Regulation of Online Games Bill will likely lead to a dispute between the state and central governments. Experts expect online gaming bodies to try to fight the ban in court.
Tamil Nadu has long fought against online gambling. Real-money games have led to spikes in gambling harm, sparking concerns within the government. To make matters worse, people have been taking their lives over lost bets, adding an extra layer of urgency to the situation.
In February, India banned hundreds of gambling and betting apps in addition to a number of loan services.