Online gaming in India has reached a rather exorbitant level and the pandemic has further increased the number of online gamers. However, despite online games being a mode of keeping oneself occupied during the pandemic, online gambling games such as rummy and poker lie on a rather sloppy footing and excessive gambling results in negative behavioural issues and addictions.

The State of Tamil Nadu had recently promulgated an ordinance which banned online gambling games such as rummy and poker. The ratio behind such an ordinance was the glaring increase in the vicious cycle of innocent gamers falling prey to such modes of gambling and losing excessive amounts of money which incites them to commit suicide. The ordinance had put forth a blanket ban on the operators, players involved and other related parties. Furthermore, it would help in nullifying the menace of illegal gambling and betting sites. The Ordinance provides for a fine of Rs. 5000 and imprisonment up to 6 months if a person acts in contravention by indulging in such online gambling games. It also states that people who run establishments which provide a platform to engage in such activities would be punished with a fine amount of Rs. 10,000 and two year imprisonment. It also puts a ban on any form of wagering or betting using cyberspace by means of computers or other such electronic devices and any electronic transfer of funds for the purpose of online betting and gambling.

There have been different opinions on the ban of gambling games primarily pertaining to the enforcement of the ordinance and its effect. Cyber law specialist of the Centre of Cyber Victim Counselling stated that “A move lie this depends wholly on the execution”. Furthermore, the operators have been requesting to implement regulations than on imposing a blanket ban on online gambling games. Therefore, the enforcement mechanism must be given utmost importance for achieving the objectives of the ordinance in an effective manner. 

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B.A., B.L., (Hons) IPDP., (London)
Pgd IPR., Pgd Cyber Law., Msc., (IT)
Advocate, Madras High Court

Karthikeyan, is a renowned cyber law expert, who is also the Managing Partner of Law Office of Karthikeyan, a reputed law firm based in Chennai.

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