Breaking News: TN Police to probe suicides due to online gaming, CB-CID issues notices to Dream11, Junglee Rummy and others

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As the political slugfest around banning online rummy and other games heats up in Tamil Nadu and a fresh legislation to ban online gambling is awaiting assent from Governor RN Ravi, the state police have made a fresh attempt to investigate online gaming companies and suicides allegedly caused by addiction and financial losses in such games.

As per local media reports, the state Crime Branch CID (CB-CID) under instructions from Director General of Police (DGP) C. Sylendra Babu has decided to probe 17 recent suicides reportedly due to online gambling and has issued notices to six online gaming companies in the process of the investigation. The companies to whom notices have been sent, as per local media reports, include Dream11, RummyCulture, Junglee Rummy, PUBG and couple of other companies operating ludo and rummy.

It is unclear at this stage whether any FIR has been registered for the suicides. It is understood that the notices seek information from gaming companies on whether the deceased person had played on the online gaming platforms and their playing history and transactions.

The move by the Tamil Nadu police comes at a time when political parties in the state have been criticising Governor Ravi for not providing assent to the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling & Regulation of Online Games Bill passed unanimously by the legislative assembly on 19 October 2022.

The Bill which seeks to replace an Ordinance passed on similar lines seeks to prohibit online gambling and classifies online rummy and poker as ‘games of chance’, while creating a Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Authority to monitor and regulate online games and enforce the prohibition of online gambling.

It remains to be seen whether the investigation by the Tamil Nadu police reveals any role of online gaming companies in the suicides. Meanwhile, all eyes will also be on the Governor as a decision on whether he would grant assent to the Online Gambling Bill or return it for reconsideration is awaited.