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Madras HC refuses to stay Tamil Nadu's ordinance banning online gambling

An act against online gambling may be presented in the Tamil Nadu assembly in January.

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NEW DELHI: The Madras high court has declined to grant an interim stay on the Tamil Nadu government’s ordinance banning online gambling and games, including online rummy.

Appearing for the state, advocate general Vijay Narayan today sought more time and urged the court to adjourn the matter till after Pongal. He also mentioned that there is a possibility that an act against online gambling may be presented in the legislative assembly in January, which may or may not be in the same form as the ordinance. However, the court clarified that no further extension would be given in the matter to file the counter.

He argued that children are playing online rummy using their parents' credit card and the ordinance would nearly have any effect on the operations of the petitioners given that only two states – Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh – have banned online rummy.

Previously, the court had refused to stay the ordinance on a petition moved by online gaming platform Junglee.

Appearing for Junglee, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi argued that the petitioners wanted an early resolution of the matter, adding that they can establish that online rummy is safer than rummy played in other places. He claimed that the business is getting impacted as it wrongly stopped.

Meanwhile, Gameskraft Technologies also joined in the challenge mounted against the ordinance, in so far as it relates to online rummy. Advocate Mohan Parasaran, the counsel appearing for Gameskraft, urged the court to at least pass orders that no coercive action be taken against the petitioners in the interim.

However, the bench refused to grant any interim relief save for the filing of a counter-affidavit by the state, and fixed the matter for further hearing on 18 January.

Last month, Tamil Nadu became the third state in India to enforce a ban on online games and gambling after governor Banwarilal Purohit promulgated an ordinance on the same. The move came in the wake of a spate of suicides in the state by gamblers who lost money playing these online betting games.

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