Madras HC Repeals Recent TN Act Banning Online Games for Money – Judges in Chennai declared the law invalid as it was against a previous Constitutional ruling. Online gaming companies had challenged the bill prohibiting some of the nation’s favourite games, as confirmed by a recent study into the profile of the average desi player.
Classic Real-Money Games Remain Legal in Tamil Nadu
Media reports in early August announced that the Madras High Court declared invalid the Tamil Nadu anti-gambling law. The State government had earlier placed a ban on popular online betting games such as poker and rummy.
Justices agreed with the petitioners – a group of online gaming companies – that the law was “excessive and disproportionate” and legislators acted “ultra vires”, beyond their powers. The national standard on certain games has been set ever since the 1968 Supreme Court ruling that rummy is a game of skill and not chance.
Tamil Nadu is among the states with a strong online gaming presence, with players turning to the best casino sites like 10Cric.com for a safe and legal gambling experience. The petition to the HC in Chennai contended that a legitimate business in any other part of the Union cannot be banned as illegal in one state.
The Legal Basis for the Decision
The Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act was adopted earlier in February of 2021. Its validity was challenged by gaming providers, based on the historic Supreme Court ruling and the legal distinction between skill and chance games.
The TN Government pleaded that many teenagers and young adults below 30 are risking their earnings by betting on some of their favourite online games. But since rummy is easily found in many land-based clubs, it could not be banned for online play.
Chennai at the Forefront of Online Gaming
A recent research into the typical gamer profiles in India and the scope of the nation’s gambling market reveals that Tamil Nadu has a gamer base second to almost no other state.
While many other player demographics are identical across the nation, geographically the user bases are distributed differently. Most players come from the South – i.e. Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad – followed by the other Tier-1 urban areas in the country, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.
The largest online gaming communities depend on local development but also on cultural specifics. Unsurprisingly, online traffic to gaming sites increases around holidays like Diwali or Holi, when families and friends engage in casual gambling, more because of tradition than anything else.
Many are introduced to games like rummy and poker by relatives and friends, while regional favourites also include teen patti and andar bahar. The younger age groups turn out to be the most active – between 20 and 40 – and most play online for stress relief and social interaction.
Over the past couple of years there has been a substantial growth in non-fantasy real-money games, especially card games and casual mobile games. Other historic games are also gaining traction, with better local language support and customised desi contents.
The total Indian online gaming market is quoted as having around 400 million players and a total worth around Rs 9,000 crores (as per 2020 KPMG data). Roughly a third of that comes from non-fantasy real-money games, both classic gambling genres and other skill games online.
Young metropolitan players still make up the larger part of the gamer base but rural communities are gradually catching up, due to affordable smartphones and better internet coverage.