‘BILL AGAINST ONLINE GAMBLING

  • N. Ravi asked me to convey to the CM that he would take a decision soon, says Law Minister after a meeting at the Raj Bhavan. During discussion, officials point out that due to online rummy, 25 people have lost their lives after falling in debt trap; political leaders urge Governor to give nod soon
  • Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi has some more doubts over the Bill against online gaming and gambling, and he is expected to give his assent to the legislation after getting them cleared, Law Minister S. Regupathy told journalists on Thursday.
  • Against the backdrop of an ordinance promulgated to ban online gaming “lapsing” because of a statutory provision, Mr. Regupathy, along with the Secretaries of the Home and Law Departments, met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan to discuss the status of the Bill. “He asked me to convey to the Chief Minister that he would take a decision soon,” the Minister said.
  • Asked what was the Governor’s response, Mr. Regupathy replied that the Governor said the Bill was still under his consideration, there were some more doubts and he would give his assent after getting them cleared.
  • The Governor raised some doubts and the government sought to clear them, the Minister said. “After he gets those doubts cleared through other means [consultations], he said he would grant it [his assent].”
  • At the meeting which lasted over 30 minutes, the Minister and the officials pointed out that 17 persons had lost their lives [after losing money in online rummy and falling into a debt trap] before the ordinance was promulgated, but the figure had risen to 25 now. These deaths could be attributed to online gaming, while there were no suicides on account of offline gaming, he said.

Online and offline

  • “There is a difference between playing online and offline. There are chances that the online games are pre-programmed to loot money…,” Mr. Regupathy said.
  • To another question, the Minister said a total of 21 Bills were pending before the Governor. “As of now, there is no time frame for him to give his assent. Only if there is a constitutional amendment, we could ask for a time frame.”
  • Since the Assembly was set to convene within a few days after the ordinance was promulgated, the government decided to move a Bill in the House and get the Governor’s assent, he said.
  • Asked what was the status of the Bill now, Mr. Regupathy said, “If the Governor gives his assent, it will come into force.”
  • PMK president AnbumaniRamadoss on Thursday urged the Tamil Nadu Governor to give nod to the Bill banning online gambling immediately.

‘A social hazard’

  • In a Twitter post, he noted that Parthiban, a driver in Chennai’s Manali, died by suicide after losing money to online gambling. He lost ₹50,000, which his wife had gotten as loan from a self-help group, Dr.Anbumani said.
  • Terming online gambling a social hazard, he noted that the Madras High Court said the State government had the right to pass a law to curb it.
  • Meanwhile, DravidarKazhagam president K. Veeramani led a protest near PanagalMaligai in Saidapet against the Governor not giving approval for the Bill.
  • Speaking to reporters, he said the Governor had to take responsibility for the loss of lives due to online rummy. Mr. Veeramani also warned of continuing protests if the Bill was not passed.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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