Madras HC adjourns hearing in online gaming ban case to August 7

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The Madras High Court has adjourned the hearing involving petitions filed by online gaming companies against online rummy ban to August 7 after Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal, representing the Tamil Nadu government, could not be present in the court yesterday. The law to ban online rummy was enacted by the Tamil Nadu government last year in order to prevent people from going into financial harm.

Soon after the law came into force, online gaming firms and industry body All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) filed a writ petition against the new law in the Madras HC, claiming that it violates previous judgements of the same High Court and the Supreme Court for real money skill-based games.

The online gaming firms claimed that the games are legal and separate from chance-based games, and hence cannot be banned by the state government.

Representing the state, Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal argued that under Entry 34 List 2 the state has the authority to enact the law. He also argued that the law was made in order to protect people from losing money and going into debt as these online gaming companies are there for their own interest only.

There have been several alleged suicides and crimes reported due to people losing money playing online rummy and going into debt, according to the state.

The companies have asked for interim protection earlier, but the Madras HC has denied it to them. In the latest hearing, three Senior Advocates, representing online gaming companies have again argued that the state does not have the authority to ban online games.

With the online gaming companies concluding their arguments, the division bench of Chief Justice Sanjay Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu had listed the matter for further hearing on August 1 to allow Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal to present his arguments.