Gaming Federations in India have requested the State government to reconsider the ban on online skill games. They also pointed out that the ban will push people towards illegal offshore websites.
“What this ordinance in effect does is treat and conflicts games of skill as gambling and games of chance. This is disappointing as it disregards 6 decades of jurisprudence and the recent judgment of the Madras High Court which struck down a similar law,” said Roland Landers, CEO of The All India Gaming Federation.
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“What is also surprising is that the State government has already appealed the judgment of the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court had recently issued notices on the same. Instead of waiting for the Supreme Court judgment and in the meantime respecting the categorical decision by their own High Court, they seem to have taken another unconstitutional decision which will eventually only benefit online gambling operators,” Mr. Landers added.
The All India Gaming Federation also pointed out that the ban can have an adverse effect on the State and will push more and more people towards illegal offshore websites. As per industry estimates, between ₹50,000 crore to ₹75,000 crore ($6-10 billion) is spent on illegal online betting and gambling every year in India.
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Sameer Barde, CEO of E- Gaming Federation, said, "We are surprised and disappointed at the Ordinance issued by the Tamil Nadu government, which categorises Rummy as a game of chance. That Rummy is a game of skill has been settled by the Supreme Court and has been held to be a protected trade under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.”
Mr. Barde added, “The State of Tamil Nadu including rummy as a game of chance is directly in violation of the Supreme Court judgments and also the recent judgment of the High Court of Madras which overturned the law banning online games including Rummy.” Mr.Badre further said, ”We are examining the ordinance and shall be taking appropriate action in due course of time.”
Currently valued at $2.2 billion, the Indian gaming market is poised to reach $7 billion by 2026. Around 420 million players across the country play games online as a form of entertainment. In the recent years, global VC funds like Sequoia, Kalaari , Lumikai, Tiger Global have invested in some of these Indian gaming firms.