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Everything you need to know about the Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Act

The nexus between Sports and Business.

The Madras High Court has upheld the state’s online gaming act which plans to ban online money games such as rummy and poker. The high court said that the law imposing the ban was ‘unconstitutional’.

The Tamil Nadu Online Gaming Act restricts any form of advertising that promotes online gambling or playing online games of chance with money or other stakes is prohibited in the state. The specified online games of chance are rummy and poker.

The bill passed by the Tamil Nadu government included penalties like:

  • Imprisonment term of up to three months or a fine of 5000 rupees or both for any person indulging in online gambling/online games of chance with money or other stakes.
  • imprisonment of up to one year or with a fine, which may extend to ₹5 lahks or both for those inducing people to play online gambling/games of chance.
  • imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with a fine which may extend to ₹10 lakh or both for any person who provides online gambling services or games of poker and rummy with money or other stakes.

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A Bench of Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu said that while the State government was free to make rules to restrict the time one spent playing online games or to set age limits for both games of chance and of skill, it could ban only games of chance and not games of skill.

The Court further said that the Act cannot be invoked to ban games of skill like Rummy and Poker.

The Court’s verdict came on a batch of petitions filed by the All India Gaming Federation and several online gaming companies challenging the constitutional validity of the Act.

Most importantly, this historic outcome can potentially spark a positive effect and sentiment in the gaming industry of India and the blueprint can be applied in various states of India if situations like this emerge.

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Nilesh Deshmukh
I am passionate about sports and passionate about marketing. As a sports marketer, I have built significant expertise in successfully delivering medium to long term digital marketing strategy for global sports entities and brands like Arsenal FC, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC, Major League Baseball, Formula E, and AELTC, etc to engage with their fans in India. I am currently based in London and lead India business at Engage Digital Partners.