An Ordinance “prohibiting online gambling” was approved by Tamil Nadu’s Council of Ministers during a meeting chaired by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin at the Secretariat on Monday. The Governor’s approval would be obtained to promulgate the ordinance soon, the Home Secretary said.
This is the Tamil Nadu government’s second attempt to bring in a legislation against online gambling, as an Ordinance promulgated during the erstwhile AIADMK regime in February last year was struck down by the Madras High Court.
Following recurring incidents of suicide by people who apparently lost their money to online gambling, and demands by various political parties, the State government had, in June this year, constituted a panel under the leadership of Justice K. Chandru to advise on the enactment of a fresh legislation on online games.
The panel submitted a report to the Chief Minister, recommending a ban on online gambling through an Ordinance. The report was placed before the Cabinet during its meeting on June 27.
A survey by the School Education Department on the possible impact of online gambling on school students, and opinions received from the general public through emails and consultations were used as inputs in the preparation of a draft Ordinance, which was placed before the Cabinet during its next meeting on August 29.
In keeping with the assurance made by the Cabinet that the draft would be further strengthened before finalising the contents of the Ordinance, it was placed before the Cabinet during its meeting on September 26, when the Cabinet approved the Ordinance.
It may be recalled that an appeal preferred by the Tamil Nadu government in the Supreme Court in November last year is yet to be taken up for hearing. The legislation enacted by other States, including Karnataka and Kerala, were also struck down by the respective High Courts.
(Assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts is available on the State’s health helpline 104 and Sneha’s suicide prevention helpline 044-24640050.)