The Tamil Nadu government will soon introduce an ordinance against online gambling. The state Cabinet meet, presided over by Chief Minister MK Stalin, today gave its approval to it. The ordinance will be introduced soon after the Governor's approval, a statement by the state government said.
The ruling DMK had appointed a committee under Retired Justice K Chandru to study and submit a report to ban online games. Public opinion was also sought through in-person consultations and emails. The report was fine-tuned and placed before the Cabinet for approval.
At least 17 people, including students, have died by suicide in the state after suffering heavy financial losses by participating in online games over the last few years.
Addiction to these games had led many into a debt trap. This made adoption of suitable legal measures necessary. Experts have also taken a critical view of celebrities, including popular cricketers, endorsing such games.
The previous AIADMK government, too, had framed a law last year in February against these games. However, Madras High Court struck it down in August, following appeals by the gaming companies.
Tamil Nadu government's appeal before the Supreme Court on this issue is yet to be heard. High Courts in few other states, meanwhile, have quashed similar laws.
In India, online gaming is not prohibited. Online gaming with stakes or real money is allowed in most states.
Online gaming in the country has seen a surge due to rise in digital infrastructure and availability of cheap and faster internet services. However, these gaming activities often have an element of gambling and monetary transactions baked into them, which is a cause for concern.