AIGF urges Tamil Nadu government to reconsider the gaming ban ordinance

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The government of Tamil Nadu (TN) approved the ordinance to ban online gaming for stakes a few days ago, calling games like rummy and poker a game of chance. Now the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) has urged that those games for stakes are not games of chance but are considered games of skill, and the ban on them should be removed.

In September, the TN cabinet approved an ordinance banning online gaming for stakes. PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss fully supported the cabinet and expressed his views on how it destroys the homes of regular people, and the governor should pass the ordinance immediately.

“The ordinance will ban most online games of skill, including rummy and poker. What this ordinance does, in effect, is to treat games of skill as gambling and games of chance. This is disappointing as it disregards six decades of established legal jurisprudence and the recent judgment of the Madras High Court, which struck down a similar law,” CEO of AIGF, Roland Landers, said while also stating how offshore gambling firms are promoted everywhere but Indian apps are being banned.

The CEO of the E-gaming Federation (EFG) also said that games like rummy have been ruled as games of skill by Supreme Court (SC) and are protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and including rummy and poker as a game of chance under the ordinance is a violation of direct orders from SC.

Landers also suggested that instead of banning these games of skill, the government should try to regulate them, whether they are online or offline. He also said, “The court also came down heavily on the State government for passing the law as a populist measure in the lead up to the Assembly elections, without following the established law … The ban can have an adverse effect on the State and will push more and more people towards illegal offshore websites”.

The Indian online gaming market is expected to create more than 5 billion USD by 2025. Currently, the online gaming sector is the 5th largest in the world. AIGF said any type of ban on these skill-based games might disrupt the ecosystem and the whole business.