We don’t see any other way out except banning, TN will follow its own legislation: Justice K Chandru

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Stating the regulation is not the answer, the head of Tamil Nadu’s commission on online gaming has advocated for a total ban. In an interview with Economic Times, Justice K Chandru said that the state government is certain that a ban is the only option.

Since the new changes in online gaming law state that gaming will be regulated and games of skill like online poker and rummy will be allowed, Chandru said that the state and central might clash in a ‘legal battle.’

“These rules do not change Tamil Nadu’s stance on online gaming. We don’t see any other way out except banning. Tamil Nadu will follow its own legislation,” he said, according to ET.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Telangana have already passed their own legislation to ban online games like poker and rummy, which are considered skill games according to Supreme Court ruling.

Many of the gaming firms were worried about the same thing and have asked for clarification from the MoS, MeitY, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar on what will be the central government’s move if the states refused to follow the new law.

Speaking on the matter, Eminent Technology and Gaming Lawyer Jay Sayta said, “Insofar as powers of states to regulate online gaming is concerned, the same is not divested by virtue of the new rules until proper legislation is introduced and passed in parliament after consensus amongst states. The issue of whether states or the centre have legislative competence to regulate online gaming is also not judicially settled with the issue pending determination in the Supreme Court.”

While the Karnataka home minister Araga Jnanendra welcomed the new amendments to the online gaming rules, another anonymous state government official said, “Prima facie, it looks to us like the Centre has overreached its jurisdiction.”

“They want to make laws on state subjects, which won’t go down well with many states. States which allow gambling or even some sort of betting are unlikely to follow the norms on advertising. They allow it explicitly and will continue to do so. Most likely, we will take a call after our high court case is decided,” they added.

The bill to ban online gaming in Tamil Nadu started as an ordinance formed by the state government. The ordinance was then sent to Governor RN Ravi, who readily promulgated it.

Later, the ordinance was used to form a bill by a four-member committee headed by Justice K Chandru and was again sent to the Governor for his assent. This time, the Governor refused to give his assent to the bill.

After holding on to the bill for more than four months, the Governor returned the bill without assent, saying, “And then the question would become whether the central or state government has competency. The entire exercise will become a legal battle… It will be the same fight that will go to a different level. But the bottom line is — regulation or prohibition.”

The bill was again passed in the legislative assembly and is currently sent back to the Governor. With the new law revealed by MeitY, further developments are yet to surface.