Kerala intends to introduce strict regulations on online games like rummy

CM Pinarayi Vijayan made the announcement in Los Angeles State

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, speaking before the state Legislative Assembly in August, announced that the government intended to bring a change in the law that would strictly regulate online games, including rummy.

Moved by cases of people committing suicide after losing large sums on online gambling, the firm is working on a new legislative amendment after the Kerala High Court struck down a February 2021 amendment to the Gambling Act 1960 of Kerala, which had attempted to ban online rummy when played for stakes.

The government has appealed the judgment to the High Court, and pending developments in the case, the police and other departments are raising awareness of online gambling issues through programs in educational establishments and are also taking strong action against cybercrime and fraud. .

“Online gaming sites allow anyone of any age, including children, to open an account for free. People are offered big cash prizes. The practice of gaming companies is to first offer free games and then enslave them to the game. The administrators of the game sites will constantly monitor the game and motivate people to play more. Later, people will fall into a situation where they cannot escape the traps, “said explained CM Vijayan.

“With the popularity of online rummy games, mobile loan apps and online loan advertisements have become mainstream. Those who have lost money through gambling take out loans and play again,” the Chief Minister added.

State-Level Online Gambling Regulations Are Not Effective

The Union Constitution delegated the power to legislate on gambling, gambling, and betting to the states. This might have been a sensible provision in an era when only physical gambling dens and cash transactions existed, but now in the age of the internet and real money online casino games, such an arrangement can hardly be effective.

This is mainly due to the very nature of the Internet which transcends national and state borders. Even if IP bans are implemented, a person who has decided to verify a online baccarat The game, for example, can use a proxy or VPN service and cryptocurrency and play whatever it wants.

Another major reason is that the Constitution stipulates that only the national parliament can pass laws of extraterritorial application and therefore state-level laws can have no effect on organizations or individuals located outside the country.

Besides Kerala, a number of other states, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, have attempted to impose blanket bans on online gambling, including games of skill. In all of these cases, the respective High Courts struck down the bans as unconstitutional.

Offering or playing recognized games of skill such as rummy are protected activities under Article 19(1)(g) of primary EU law as a fundamental right to practice free- exchange, business or profession. Playing such a game for stakes or online does not change its skill-based nature, the courts have ruled.

The benches also observed that the blanket bans were disproportionate and excessive because the governments which enacted them had failed to demonstrate that measures less stringent than a total ban on all types of gambling could not achieve the objectives sought.

In their reasonings, the benches also noted the lack of scientific research and evidence justifying gambling bans in addition to “anecdotal references to suicides and perceptions of ‘evil’ addiction”.

A recent independently conducted research in the public interest on “suicide and online gambling” concluded that “there is insufficient data available both before and after the legalization of online gambling to correlate suicide with online gambling” and called for “rational” regulation on the basis of further in-depth studies by the medical and scientific communities.

The study was provided to the Tamil Nadu government which had sought input from various stakeholders while considering future gambling bans or regulations following the reversal of the state’s blanket ban.

The research highlighted that gambling bans are unintentionally dangerous, as they drive players underground where fair practices are not guaranteed and no customer protection is available, and where people may be subject to methods of recovering doubtful or criminal debts.

Thus, the solution that can work and effectively mitigate the social costs of online gambling is science-based regulation at EU level. It can be a general framework that establishes a safe gaming environment for the public and a healthy business climate for providers, leaving states to work out the details through their own legislation.

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