In its collective fight to curb the growing menace of online gambling, the state of Tamil Nadu has been witnessing the bill game between the government and the Governor as both the stakeholders are throwing balls at each other's courts with the Governor coming under severe attack from various political leaders for yet another time.
The rampant culture of online gambling has put the lives of individuals at risk as Tamil Nadu had recorded several suicides in recent times in connection to the gambling. Most of these suicides caused due to the grave financial loss and debt incurred by the victims at such online gambling and despite these shocking deaths, there was no ending to the gambling platforms as they show up on the advertisements everywhere.
Such outreach has been setting a wrong precedent after more young people are being victimized. There has been a staunch demand in the state to impose a complete ban on online gambling. Owing to its threat, the state government has formed a committee to study and recommend how the gambling can be controlled. Based on the recommendations from the committee, the government announced that it will pass a bill to ban online gambling.
On October 19, Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Bill, 2022, was passed in the Tamil Nadu Assembly after which it was sent to Tamil Nadu Governor to acquire his assent. However, the bill was idle before the Governor and Governor RN Ravi's conduct has further weakened the ties with the Tamil Nadu government as their relationship has been fragile over the NEET exemption bill and over the row of appointing Vice Chancellors for the universities.
As several leaders asserted that there was no reason for Governor to delay giving his assent, RN Ravi has come under attack for delaying to clear the anti-gambling bill as the whole state was expecting a ban on online gambling. Notably, the Governor has caused a delay in approving the bill even after the explanations, including the reason to ban the online gambling, sought by his office earlier were cleared by the state government.
As Governor RN Ravi failed to approve the bill, it got lapsed on Sunday - November 27. The lapse has come days after an explanation was sought from the Governor regarding the delay in giving assent to the bill and the state government has strongly pressed for the need of law to ban online gambling. The inaction from Governor was flayed by several parties in a display that they are on the same page that online gambling must be banned.
Speaking to the reporters on Monday - November 28, Tamil Nadu Law Minister S Regupathy affirmed that the government had clarified all the doubts that the Governor had raised. He said, "We were hoping to acquire the Governor's assent by yesterday. We had also said that 95% of the people in Tamil Nadu want online rummy and poker to be banned. The World Health Organization (WHO) termed this (addiction) as a disease."
"It is our duty to eliminate this disease in this situation and that is what the Tamil Nadu government has done", the minister added. Responding to the question why the Governor hasn't given his assent to the bill, Regupathy said that there was no reason for him to delay it. Commenting about the further course of action by the government, Regupathy said, "If we get the assent, we will implement the law. If not, there are several laws that are already in place and we will take action, against online gambling sites, under them."
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) is as strong as the ruling party when it comes to curb online gambling. PMK President Anbumani Ramadoss slammed the Governor for not providing his assent to the Bill passed by the state government to ban online gambling. In a statement, Anbumani said, "Thirty-two people have died by suicide in Tamil Nadu in the past 15 months. Hence a ban on online games is a must to prevent such deaths."
Anbumani further pointed out at the recent suicide of a woman laborer from Odisha due to online rummy to urge the Governor to approve the bill. DMK's Deputy General Secretary and MP Kanimozhi on Monday strongly condemned Governor RN Ravi over delay in giving assent to the bill. She said, "The Governor post is something that is not needed. It is an outdated position. As the Governor didn't give his assent to the Online Rummy Prohibition Bill, it has got lapsed. I don't know why they are so eager to protect online rummy."
Several leaders like Congress MLA Selvaperunthagai and Seeman had also urged the Governor to give his assent to the bill. According to Article 213 (2)(a) of the Constitution, the ordinance would lapse in a period of six weeks after the date of commencement of the last session of the legislative assembly. The previous legislative assembly session began on October 17 and as the ordinance wasn't made into the law, it got lapsed on November 27.