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Tamil Nadu: Online rummy and poker firms bar users from state after ordinance approval

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Online gaming platforms like PokerBaazi, Adda52, RummyCircle and others have started blocking users in Tamil Nadu (TN) from accessing their platform to play games with stakes like poker and rummy following the ordinance approved by the TN governor to ban online gaming in the state on October 7. The ordinance classifies online poker and rummy as “online games of chance”.

Pokerbaazi has mentioned on their website that they are currently not taking membership from people in Tamil Nadu. “We have geoblocked their services in the state of TN as a precautionary measure and are waiting for the effective date to be notified which is still not clear,” said Puneet Singh, CFO of Baazi Games, in a statement to Moneycontrol.

Adda52 says their services in TN are not available due to the laws that prohibit players from using the services on their website. Other similar services like RummyCircle and Junglee Rummy stated that the users that reside in TN will not be able to access real money games or take part in rummy tournaments for prizes.

The ordinance passed earlier this month classifies games like online poker and rummy as games of chance. The state will make the Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Authority which aims to regulate online games in the state, identify games of chance, issue registrations, check on the service providers of the games and resolve grievances, among others.

According to industry experts, Real Money Gaming (RMG) contributed to around 70% of India’s gaming sector revenue last year and can be badly hit especially when TN is one of the important markets in this sector.

The Supreme Court (SC) has declared rummy as a game of skill and has been held to be a protected trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The All India Gaming Federation has also urged the TN government to reconsider the ordinance.

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