Dr. DNV Senthil Kumar. S, MP from Dharmapuri constituency, Tamil Nadu has written to Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) Mr. Ashwini Vaishnaw seeking a ban on online games like poker and rummy. This is the second letter from the MP to MEITY. Earlier, he has written a similar letter addressed to Vaishnaw’s predecessor Ravi Shankar Prasad seeking a ban on online rummy.
In this letter to Vaishnaw. Dr. Senthil referred to recent headlines: “Man kills self after losing 20 lakh in online rummy,” “Youth died by suicide after losing 22 lakh in online rummy.” Politicians from Tamil Nadu have been claiming that gaming-related suicides are on the rise ever since the Madras High Court quashed the gaming ban law enacted by the AIDMK government in 2021. The DMK government has filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.
Addressed a letter to the Minister of— Dr.Senthilkumar.S (@DrSenthil_MDRD) January 5, 2022
Electronics and Information Technology Thiru @AshwiniVaishnaw to take steps to #Ban_Online_Rummy_Games.
Many have lost their lives and risking their live savings and putting their family in distress. pic.twitter.com/gNWcfWZdkU
Dr. Senthil referred to WHO which classified gaming addiction as a mental health disorder. He said a youth from his constituency who was without a job after the Covid19 economic downturn have been addicted to online rummy, lost money, and finally committed suicide.
The MP also referred to a recent incident from Chennai where a man killed his family and committed suicide due to debts incurred for playing online rummy. Dr. Senthil termed online rummy and poker as a clear game of chance and sought a ban as many youths are risking their savings and killing themselves.
Addressed the issue of #online_rummy_games to— Dr.Senthilkumar.S (@DrSenthil_MDRD) October 21, 2020
Information Broadcasting Minister Thiru Ravi Shankar Prasad @rsprasad
to #ban the online site
As many people are committing suicide and losing their savings and life . pic.twitter.com/pCWhzfwIbD
Politicians from across the party lines are raising voices against online games and the need for bringing in comprehensive legislation. Last month, BJP lawmaker Sushil Modi raised the issue in Rajya Sabha. A total of 21 MPs associated with the issue raised by Sushil Modi. These include members from AITC, RJD, NCP, Congress, BJP, BJD, MDMK, IUML, and DMK.
Mr. Modi sought a uniform tax on online gaming and urged the government to make a comprehensive framework of regulation for online gaming. “I would like to tell the House that during pre-Covid, weekly time spent on mobile gaming was 2.5 hours and 11 per cent of total smartphone time was spent on gaming. During lockdown, it increased from 2.5 hours to 4 hours and as on today, more than 43 crore people are using online gaming.” Mr. Modi said.
देश के करोड़ो युवाओं के भविष्य व बच्चों की सुरक्षा हेतु ऑनलाइन गेमिंग पर व्यापक विनियामक नीति बनाई जाये। pic.twitter.com/0mLfAtuQbM— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) December 3, 2021
A few days back, PMK lawmaker A.Ramadoss claimed suicides on rise after the Madras High Court decision on the online gaming ban. Ramadoss cited an example of one victim, a software engineer from Kumarapalayam who committed himself after losing Rs 30 lakh in online rummy.
Another victim a resident of Tambaram Anandapuram committed suicide recently after losing money in online gambling. Meanwhile, the former CM and AIDMK leader Edappadi K Palaniswami whose government enacted the now quashed gaming law has demanded the DMK government to enact a new law.