In the light of suicides by gamers who allegedly lost money, an order to “ban online gaming” involving betting was promulgated by the Tamil Nadu government, and any infringement would incur both fines and imprisonment, ranging from up to two years.
On Friday, Governor Banwarilal Purohit promulgated the ordinance based on a proposal from the state government, days after Chief Minister K Palaniswami promised action in this regard. Incidentally, in addition to betting and gambling, Andhra Pradesh had recently banned online gaming, while neighboring Union Territory Puducherry wrote to the Centre seeking similar action on such activities after the suspected suicide of a man who lost money in it.
According to the ordinance, a Rs 5,000 fine and six months imprisonment would punish those found gaming. A fine sum of Rs 10,000 and two years imprisonment would punish those who host common gaming houses. The decree also forbids the electronic transfer of wagering and betting assets, the sharing of winnings, prize money, etc. It also notes that it will prosecute individuals who operate the business that operates online gaming by wagering and betting.
Recently, Palaniswami said the government was taking measures to ban online games following multi-quarter demands and concerns about suicides of individuals who lost money in such state activities. A petition against online gaming is also being heard by the Madras High Court Madurai Bench.
This month, three individuals reportedly died of suicide in Coimbatore due to heavy financial losses in the online rummy game. “Due to online gaming, innocent people, mainly youngsters are being cheated and some people have committed suicide. To avoid such incidents of suicide and protect the innocent people from the evils of online gaming, the Government submitted the proposal,” the release said, seeking to amend related police acts.
Other provisions of the order include punishing those found to be “gaming” with a fine of Rs 5,000 and six months in prison, two years in prison and a fine of Rs 10,000 for individuals who run common gaming houses.
The order also prohibited the “electronic transfer of funds” used for wagering or betting, the distribution of winnings, prize money, and the prosecution of those operating the business that performs wagering and betting online gaming.