Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Thursday said the state government will ban online rummy and bring in legal changes to arrest its organisers and players.
The state government has decided to ban all online games involving betting, he told reporters in Coimbatore where he arrived to review Covid-19 management work and inaugurate infrastructure projects in the Nilgiris and Tirupur districts. The decision comes amid series of suicides across the state by victims who fall into debt due to online gambling.
About a dozen died by suicide due to debt from online gambling. In Coimbatore, two men, aged 28 and 32, committed suicide within two days this week, while across the state about a dozen have killed themselves so far.
Tamil Nadu government has said that online rummy and gambling will be banned. According to data, over two lakh people play rummy in Tamil Nadu (organised games) and on an average a person bets anywhere between Rs 100 to Rs 500 and the monies go up to a few thousands
— Sangeetha Kandavel (@sang1983) November 5, 2020
On Tuesday, the state government had informed the Madurai bench of the Madras high court, where a PIL seeking ban on online rummy was being heard, that it was planning to regulate online gambling. Appearing for the government, additional advocate general M Sricharan Rangarajan sought time to come out with a clear plan to regulate online gambling.
The court had pointed out that states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Nagaland had either banned or regulated online games involving gambling and betting. The judge also ordered notice to actors Prakash Raj, Tamannah and cricketer Virat Kohli among others who had endorsed the games.
Subsequently, on Wednesday, DMK president M K Stalin had alleged that the state government was unnecessarily delaying the ban on online gambling. He expressed shock at the response of state government seeking time to decide on the issue and demanded immediate ban.
Hours before the CM’s announcement, state law minister C Ve Shanmugam said the state was considering a ban and slammed Stalin for pointing accusing fingers at the government. “It was Amma’s government that banned lottery after several families were found suffering because of addiction to it,” he said. “We have informed the court about the government’s decision,” EPS said.