It will, however, take effect from the day the State Government notifies.
Governor RN Ravi’s assent follows a cabinet decision to take the ordinance route to crack down on online games involving wagering, acting on a report by a committee headed by retired judge that evidenced addictive behaviour, debt traps, and suicides caused by playing games involving stakes online.
A state government gazette notification released on Friday said the ordinance, promulgated on October 1, aims to “prohibit” online gambling and “regulate online gaming in the state of Tamil Nadu.”
The notification said the committee headed by Justice K Chandru (retd.) classified online gaming into two: one with “minimal or negligible randomness factor” and “another having random event or count generators which are pseudo random, addictively designed.” The committee has recommended to place regulations for the first kind, and totally ban the latter.
On online rummy, the report underscored that the algorithms are known to the developers, rendering the code “pseudo-random,” and said the possibility to deploying bots to interact with users have always existed. “No mechanism is available for auditing the centralised server architecture of the gaming systems,” the Government notification said, referencing the report.
Discover the stories of your interest
AI, the report said, can be leveraged to lure the players into continued indulgence.
For regulating online gaming, the ordinance provides for an Authority comprising a technical member, a senior police official, and an “eminent psychologist,” among others. The Authority would also recommend games qualifying under games of chance, to be banned. Online game providers need to be certified by the Authority.
The committee’s report said an overwhelming majority of responses to a survey – 99% of 10,735 mails from the public – have recommended a total ban on online games. The government believes online gambling and unregulated games conducted online constitute a “potent vice,” capable of leading to aggressive behaviour, reduced eye sight, poor concentration, and decreased productivity among youth.
The ordinance is the second attempt by Tamil Nadu after the Madras High Court struck down a gaming law amendment that prohibited wagering on online games in August last year. Similar attempts by neighbouring states Karnataka and Kerala have also been struck down by their respective high courts. Tamil Nadu’s appeal against the High Court’s order remains pending before the Supreme Court.