TN assembly session begins, Gaming Ban Bill to be tabled

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The Tamil Nadu Assembly’s brief session began on Monday and Leader of Opposition and AIADMK interim chief Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) abstained on the opening day, while O Panneerselvam (OPS), heading the rival faction took part in House proceedings.

The Tamil Nadu Gaming Ban Bill is expected to be tabled in this session to replace the ordinance brought earlier this month. An ordinance has a life time of 6 weeks once the assembly is in session.

The three-day session, concluding on October 19, is expected to debate on gaming ban bill before passing the law by a voice vote. Since all political parties have supported the law outside the house, the law is expected to be passed without any hiccups.

A similar earlier law was quashed by the Madras High Court in August 2021 as unconstitutional. This time the government has moved cautiously to ensure the law can be defended when ultimately challenged before the Courts. In the background to the enactment, the government referred to the report of Justice Chandru Committee. The government said it has received 10,735 emails from public and stakeholders of which 10,708 emails favoured the ban.

The law prohibits all “online games of chance” which includes a game that involves both an element of chance and an element of skill or a game that involves an element of chance that can be eliminated by superlative skill, or a game that is presented as involving an element of chance. This definition is borrowed from the UK Gambling Act.

Gaming operators are classified as local and non-local operators. While local operators can get a license to offer certain online games, non-local operators are fully prohibited from offering online games. To avoid contravention with the law, non-local operators are required to ensure geo-blocking, warning users about prohibition in the State.

Any person offering these online games of chance will face an imprisonment of up to three years or a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, or both. Meanwhile, people playing these games with money shall face imprisonment of up to three months or a fine of up to Rs 5,000 or both