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Tamil Nadu bans online bets, rummy and poker; exempts games of skill

Days after the Madras High Court first spoke up on online gambling in Tamil Nadu, the state government on November 20 passed an ordinance banning online gambling in the state, making wagering or betting, including playing rummy and poker, punishable by imprisonment of two years, a fine of up to ₹10,000, or both.  The AIADMK government, led by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, has cited young people being cheated and numerous suicides due to wagering online as prompting the ban. The chief amendments have been brought in by updating the colonial-era Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930, to include cyber cafes and online fund transfers for online betting, alongside changes to the Chennai City Police Act, 1888, and Tamil Nadu District Police Act, 1859. Banwarilal Purohit, governor of Tamil Nadu, passed the ordinance on November 20; Chief Minister Palaniswami had first announced an intention to do so in early November.  The ordinance makes several changes to include the internet as a space where gambling can take place, and increases punishments for running and opening a gaming house as well as making company executives liable. The Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, makes the following changes:   Outlaws online betting, rummy, poker: No person shall wager or bet in cyberspace using computers, computer systems, networks, or resources, or any communication device used for gaming, or any other gaming instruments, “by playing rummy, poker or any other game”. This can be punishable with imprisonment of up to 2 years and a…

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