AIGF challenges Tamil Nadu’s Online Rummy ban

26 Mar 2021

Tamil Nadu Gaming Act amendments face potential backlash

A little over a month has passed since gambling in “cyberspace” was added to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930.

The Ordinance that was set to amend the gaming act stated that ”no person shall ”wager” or ”bet” in games like Rummy or similar games played online using ”computers” or ”any communication device” or “any other instrument of gaming.”

Now, the All India Gaming Federation is challenging the ban’s constitutional validity before the Madras High Court.

Poker and Rummy are games of skill

The main focus of the petition presented by the AIGF is that online poker and Rummy, no matter if online or offline, are games of skill and should therefore not be banned as forms of real money “gambling.”

Members of AIGF currently self-regulate using a “Charter on Online Games of Skill,” that ensures only legal forms of games are offered.

Some of the rules stated in the charter are:

  • Only skill-based games are allowed;
  • games can only be offered in states that allow games of skill;
  • games can only be offered when relevant licenses have been acquired;
  • games are not offered to people under 18 years of age;
  • a Privacy Policy is in effect; and
  • information on Responsible Gambling is available.

The reasons for the challenge of the ban are many

The Federation listed a number of reasons why they believe that sections 3A and 11 of the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 should be struck down.

Here’s a selection of the reasons:

  • Poker is considered a game of skill, as per the 276th report released by The Law Commission of India.
  • A majority of India’s states consider poker to be a game of skill.
  • Poker competitions are business activities, thus protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.
  • That the TN government has exceeded its legislative competence.
  • The phrase “any other game,” mentioned in Section 3A, is too vague to be considered constitutionally acceptable.
  • The provisions create inequality by banning online casino poker while allowing physical poker. Article 14 of the Constitution demands equality.

The matter will be heard again on the 21st of April 2021.