At a time when the State government and political parties have been urging Governor R.N. Ravi to grant his assent to a Bill to ban online gambling and regulate online games, it has emerged that representatives of the E-Gaming Federation met Mr. Ravi at the Raj Bhavan on December 5 to share their views on the proposed legislation.
A source from the gaming industry told The Hindu that the meeting lasted only around 10 minutes.
“We requested to meet the Governor and express our views,” the source said. The Governor heard their views but did not give any assurance or commit to a follow-up meeting.
Sameer Barde, Chief Executive Officer of the E-Gaming Federation, said, “We placed the legal jurisprudence in this regard, set by the Supreme Court and several High Courts, whereby games like poker and rummy have been clearly identified as games of skill.
In its detailed judgment, the High Court of Madras reaffirmed the preponderance test for distinguishing between games of skill and games of chance, especially in the context of rummy, reinforcing that both rummy and poker are games of skill.”
According to him, these games have been listed for prohibition as games of chance or gambling under the Bill, and this is unconstitutional.
He said the points raised on Random Number Generators (RNGs) had also been clarified, as they were one of the most developed, internationally accepted regulatory practices and technical standards adopted by the operators voluntarily in the country today.
“This ensures the safety of consumers as well as tamper-free operator practices. The same may be mandated by the Government of Tamil Nadu via appropriate legislation,” he said.
“As an industry, we have been unequivocal in our readiness for a progressive regulatory framework by the government. In the absence of a Central regulation, such repeated acts by the State governments are neither progressive nor fair,” he contended.
An Ordinance promulgated by the Governor, banning online gambling, lapsed on November 27.
The Governor had, meanwhile, raised queries on the Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill passed by the Assembly.
Law Minister S. Regupathy, who met Mr. Ravi on December 1, had said the government had given clarifications but the Governor had some doubts.
Raj Bhavan officials were unavailable for comment.