AIGF files writ petition in Madras HC against new Online Gaming law

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Following up on their previous statement, the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has filed a petition in the Madras High Court (HC) against the recently implemented online gaming law but the Tamil Nadu state government.

The new online gaming law came into enforcement on Friday, April 21, wherein the rummy and poker sites had to geo-block users in the state of Tamil Nadu and as a result, users in the state weren’t allowed to take part in real-money games provided by these platforms. AIGF came forward in support of these platforms stating the enactment is unconstitutional, and also how government shouldn’t block their services in the region.

According to AIGF, the new law violates the fundamental right to trade and commerce guaranteed by the constitution & a ban on skill games like poker & rummy is illegal, unconstitutional, arbitrary & against previous judgments of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

In the same vein AIGF’s CEO Roland Landers quoted, “The Tamil Nadu government has passed an unconstitutional law, which bans multiple online skill games. The law disregards over six decades of established legal jurisprudence and seems to be based on a completely wrong understating of technology.”

He further went on to add, “As the oldest and largest gaming industry body and being the voice of Indian MSME start-ups, we have challenged the constitutionality of the law before the Hon’ble Madras High Court. We have full faith that our judicial system will uphold the fundamental rights of the gaming platforms and their users, as it has been doing for over 60 years.”

In a previous Supreme Court ruling, these games were labelled as games of skill under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India and are considered legal and cannot be categorized with gambling. Fantasy games such as Dream11 and MPL are also included in the category of skill-based games.

As per seithipunal, if the filing procedures are completed, the case will be listed tomorrow. In case there is a delay, the case will then be included in the regular list, according to Madras HC.

Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Authority and Regulation of Online Games Rules was implemented as a measure to ban all online games that have stakes. The new law does not differentiate between games of skill and games of chance, and hence bans games like online poker and rummy under the category of gambling.

Along with this, the Tamil Nadu government has also established an Online Gaming Authority that will be regulating online gaming in the state. Anyone disregarding the law and still providing online gambling services will be liable for Rs 10 lakh fine and up to three years of imprisonment.

Online Gaming Law enacted to safeguard people in the state

The new law was enacted in order to safeguard the people in Tamil Nadu according to the state government, who also claimed that over 50 people committed suicide after losing money on these online games like rummy and poker.

One thing to note here is that a similar law was also passed back in 2021 by the AIADMK government which was struck down by the HC. It remains to be seen if the same result ensues in this case.