The action was taken as the Supreme Court started hearing a case from the Tamil Nadu government contesting a Madras High Court ruling that overturned the 2020 ban on internet gaming involving the transfer of money imposed by the previous AIADMK-led government. It was ruled unlawful by the state high court in a ruling that was issued in August.
All of the petition’s respondents, including skill-based gaming companies Junglee Games, Play Games24x7, Head Digital Works, and industry association All India Gaming Federation, received notice from the Supreme Court in September. They were given four weeks to submit their responses, and the case is scheduled to be listed in ten weeks. Since then, the Karnataka government has filed a comparable appeal with the Supreme Court, which has been included to the case.
Because gambling is a state matter, some state governments, notably Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, and Karnataka, have outlawed or attempted to outlaw skill-based real money gaming. Industry executives claim that South India is a crucial market for skill-based games like rummy, which is widely popular in these states.
Commenting on the latest update Roland Landers, CEO – The All India Gaming Federation, said, “Based on news reports we understand that the Tamil Nadu government has approved an ordinance to ban certain or all online games of skill. This is disappointing because it disregards the 6 decades of established legal jurisprudence and also the recent judgment of the Madras HC which struck down a similar law. As the apex industry body for online gaming we at the All India Gaming Federation have been trying to engage with the government to understand their concerns and have also made them aware of the proliferation of offshore gambling websites and apps which flourish when constitutionally protected India apps are banned.
He further added, “We had provided various consumer protection and other measures which stop short of an outright ban. In such a scenario this is unfortunate. What is also surprising is that the State government has already appealed the judgment of Madras HC and the SC had recently issued notices on the same. Instead of waiting for the SC judgment and in the meantime respecting the categorical decision by their own HC, they seem to have taken another unconstitutional decision which will eventually only benefit online gambling operators. We will wait for the final bill to comment in detail and decide our next course of action.”