Bill Banning Online Gambling Legally Sound, Says Tn Govt
Chennai: A day after governor R N Ravi raised queries about the bill on online games and gambling, the state government clarified that the bill was legally sound, well within the framework of the Constitution and the state was competent to enact the legislation. The bill has made distinction between games of chance and skill, and prohibits only online games of chance, rummy and poker played with money or other stakes, and regulates all other online games.
Law minister S Regupathy said on Friday that the government’s response was sent to Raj Bhavan in the forenoon. It had taken into account the order of the Madras high court that struck down the previous legislation. “Since the bill is enacted under Entry 34 (betting and gambling), 1 (public order), 6 (public health) and 33 (theatres and dramatic performances) of List II – State List in the 7th Schedule to the Constitution, the bill is not against the Constitution,” the minister said. The online games, rummy and poker have been declared as games of chance under the bill.
The governor had stated that some of the issues raised by the Madras high court were not addressed to and the blanket ban was violative of Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. The government did not take into account the court order that banning games of skill did not fall within the purview of Entry 34 of the List II of the State List. The state government rejected the contention that the bill violated the doctrine of proportionality by imposing an outright ban on online rummy and poker without any regulatory measures.
Regupathy said the preamble of the present bill clearly explained that it was based on the report of a committee led by a retired judge of high court and addressed both regulation and prohibition unlike other states. The online game of chance depends on the specific algorithm of the game provider and the chances of losing money were high. Home secretary K Phanindra Reddy said that no state other than Tamil Nadu had done such extensive research, collected data at international level and empirical evidence to enact the legislation.