Two weeks after Governor R.N. Ravi returned the bill banning online gambling and regulating online games, the Tamil Nadu assembly on Thursday readopted the bill. The bill has been sent again to the governor for his approval.
In his speech in the assembly while moving the bill titled 'The Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022' for re-adoption, Chief minister M.K. Stalin said, “I stand in the House and move the bill with a heavy heart.” Stalin said that the government enacted the bill based on the report submitted by retired Justice K. Chandru and other eminent personalities. He said the bill was adopted in October 2022 after consultations with students, parents and government school teachers on the consequences of online games and gambling.
Stalin said at least 74 per cent of the teachers whom the government consulted said that the online games have turned into a menace for the students. He said that the governor chose to return the bill saying that the state government is not competent to pass this legislation after sitting on it for 131 days.
Pointing out that around 41 people have died after losing money in online gambling, Stalin mentioned the request made by a young man Suresh Kumar in his suicide note. “A young man named Suresh Kumar died by suicide after penning a letter that his should be the last death due to online gambling. We cannot remain silent about such incidents. We have the duty and responsibility to protect people.”
Stating that the state government has “The right to streamline, regulate and protect the people in its jurisdiction,” Stalin mildly took on the governor for saying that the state government doesn’t have the competence to enact the bill. Stalin also pointed out that one of the foremost jobs of the state government was to protect the people of the state and maintain the law and order situation.
Stalin also recalled the reply given by Union Minister for Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, to a query raised by DMK MP S.R. Parthiban on March 21, 2023, in the Parliament. “The minister said that the state governments have the right to pass legislation on the issue under the 7th schedule of the Constitution,” Stalin said.
Reading out from a letter dated March 6 from governor, Speaker M. Appavu noted that Ravi had said that the state had no legislative competence on the issue of online gambling and against various judicial pronouncements.
As per the bill passed in the assembly on Thursday after discussion, “no online games provider shall provide online gambling service or allow playing of any online game of chance specified with money or other stakes or playing of any other online game in contravention of the regulations, in any form.”
It also reads that “No person shall make or cause to make any advertisement in any media including electronic means of communication, in the State, which directly or indirectly promotes or induces any person to indulge in online gambling or play any online game of chance specified in the Schedule, with money or other stakes.”