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Tamil Nadu has power to enact online gambling laws in India

March 23, 2023 India Crime & Legal

INDIA: Less than two weeks after Tamil Nadu governor R N Ravi returned the state’s Bill banning online games saying states lacked ‘legislative competence’, the union government has said states did have power to enact laws on online gambling.

Responding to a query raised by DMK MP from Salem, S R Parthiban, on Tuesday, the Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Singh Thakur said in a written reply in Lok Sabha that “Betting and Gambling come under Entry 34 of List-II in Seventh Schedule of Constitution of India, in respect of which States have power to legislate.”

Accordingly, “States have enacted their laws to deal with gambling, including which are available online, within their jurisdictions,” the minister further said.

In his query, Parthiban had sought details of the guidelines for online games of skill and chance to regulate mental health issues. He had also sought the minister to provide details of the interim guidelines for website creation and game development, in order to curtail the effects of violent and addictive gaming.

Thakur responded stating that there have been judicial pronouncements on distinction between games of skill and games of chance. He said the Supreme Court had held that games of skill refer to those games which requires a substantial degree of skill for success.

“Games which are predominantly based on chance are considered as ‘Gambling’ under Indian Laws,” Thakur said.

The DMK MP later tweeted the Union minister’s reply and also said the Union minister’s response was a vindication of Tamil Nadu government’s stand and it was well within the state’s power to ban online gambling.

“The Tamil Nadu governor had returned the Bill passed by the state assembly banning online gambling on the grounds that the state government has no power to legislate on the subject,” Parthiban pointed out.

Tamil Nadu passed the Bill in the backdrop of multiple suicides attributed to loss of money due to online gambling.

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