Tamil Nadu Still Bets on a Blanket Ban on Online Gaming Instead of Considering Sensible Regulation over the Sector

Govt and Opposition Exchange Blows in a Political Show Off in the TN LA

The opposition in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly asked the government to undertake serious actions to ban online games such as rummy to prevent the ruination of families due to losing huge amounts of money while gambling. The opposition used the parliamentary call to attention procedure which implies that the current government is failing through inadequate actions to solve an issue of urgent public importance.

The question was raised by former TN Chief Minister and current opposition AIADMK party leader Edappadi K. Palaniswami and was answered by active Law Minister Sevugan Regupathy. He returned the blow by saying that the previous AIADMK government had acted “in a hurry” to pass a blanket ban on online gaming and that hurry was the reason it was struck down by the High Court of Madras.

Ragupathy highlighted that the state’s CM Muthuvel K. Stalin was well aware of the dangers of online gambling for regular families. “We have gone to the Supreme Court to uphold the law enacted by the AIADMK government. Let’s hope that the apex court would deliver a good verdict on Tamil Nadu government’s appeal against the Madras High Court order quashing the ban on online gambling,” Ragupathy added.

The exact same sequence of question and answer was performed in the Tamil Nadu Legislature in January, this time between AIADMK MLA V. Vaiithilingam and DMK CM M. K. Stalin. The subject as well as the essence of the question and the answer were completely the same.

How Adequate are Attempts at Blanket Bans on Online Gaming?

Curiously enough, the Minister of Law of the DMK party, which is currently in power in Tamil Nadu, called the law enacted by the previous AIADMK government inadequate as being made “in a hurry” and said his government is appealing the quashing of that same inadequate law before the Supreme Court in one and the same speech at the Legislative Assembly. How adequate is it to expect a hastily drawn up blanket ban later declared unconstitutional by a High Court to be revived as it is by India’s Apex Court?

Why don’t politicians instead discuss the implementation of a sensible regulation over gaming apps and online cricket betting and gambling platforms that can lower the social costs associated with online gaming in an effective way? Such regulations can include weekly deposit limits, bans on betting on credit, limits on game round speeds and number of sessions played, age verification based on Aadhaar cards, obligations for operators to include a button for quick free access to mental health professionals, and other responsible gaming measures.

Currently only the best betting sites in India have obtained a reputable international online gaming license and work under strict regulations and responsible gaming rules, which have been designed to protect users from addictions and problem gaming behavior, as well as excessive financial losses. At the same time, many other offshore gambling and betting sites work without such licenses and rules, and a ban on gaming would not affect them.

The Underlying Motivation Behind The Blanket Bans

For some reason, Indian politicians ignore the existing responsible gaming regulations in developed countries like the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Germany and many others. Instead of copying the best of the regulation practice of these countries, desi officials jump for loud announcements of blanket bans that are known not to work. One logical explanation of this phenomenon is given by Felicia Wijkander, Editor in Chief at SevenJackpots, the largest casino comparison platform in India

“Another reason why Bharat states love to throw gambling bans around is that they bring in votes. Especially women’s votes. While Indian men historically have been the “bread-bringer” of the family, they also have the power to bring a family to its peril if their hard-earned money were to go to alcohol or gambling instead of bringing food and shelter to their family. It’s, therefore, low-hanging fruit for governments closing in on election day to state that they’ll “solve” that home-wrecking problem by banning gambling,” Felicia writes.

Looking at the repeated political show off in the Tamil Nadu Legislature with high ranking members of the AIADMK and DMK parties measuring who is banning online games harder, we have to agree with Felicia that this is just for the votes.

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