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Madras High Court strikes down amendment on gaming act

Chennai, August 3(BPNS)

The Madras High court on Tuesday nullified an amendment brought by the state government to the Tamil Nadu gaming act which banned online games including online rummy and online poker that is played with stakes.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy in their order said that by imposing a wide-ranging complete ban, the amendment has failed the least intrusive test and fallen afoul of Article 19(1) (g) of the constitution.

The issue leading to the court verdict was due to a series of petitions moved by online gaming companies challenging the ordinance passed by the state government banning online games in the state since November 2020.

The court also orally observed that the amendment of the gaming act in itself was capricious, irrational, excessive, and disproportionate. The petitioners questioned the legal validity of the ordinance by the state government and pointing out the Supreme court had consistently held the position that the online rummy games was a game of skill than a game of chance.

The state government however argued that it had banned online betting games including online rummy card game as seven people had committed suicide in the past five years. The state also said that several other criminal acts including swindling of money had taken place during the online games like rummy and poker and hence it had brought out an ordinance banning the game.