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Online Gaming Should Be Regulated to Save Youth from Being Trapped: Madras High Court [Read Order]

By Harshil Jain      Jul 27, 2020      0 Comments      1,093 Views
Online Gaming Should Be Regulated to Save Youth from Being Trapped: Madras High Court [Read Order]

On Friday 24 July 2020, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed the government to look into the matter regarding regulation and monitoring of online games, such as rummy, poker, bridge, etc, that are attracting unemployed youth of the country and enticing them into betting their money.

The Bench observed, “Not only in the State of Tamil Nadu but also in the entire Country, such online games… are mushrooming and there are so many advertisements appearing in almost all the social media and websites. It appears these advertisements are mostly targeting the unemployed youth, inducing them to play such games, on the pretext of earning money comfortably from their home.”

The present case was related to offline games, however, the Bench asked the Police about online games, such as rummy, running in the state. The Police informed the Court that currently there is no rule regulating or licensing online gaming, to which the Court replied, “This Court hopes and trusts that this Government shall take note of the present alarming situation and pass suitable legislation, thereby, regulating and controlling such online gaming through license… Needless to say that if the Government intends to pass legislation in this regard, all the stakeholders should be put in the notice and their views should be ascertained.”

The Court shed light on the fact that it is not against online gaming, but is “anguished” when came to know that there is no regulatory body for such online gaming activities.

The Bench opined, “To regulate the physical sports/games, we are having a legislative set up, but having such a set up to deal with the emerging online games/virtual games is the need of the hour. A comprehensive regulatory framework by a regulatory body is necessary to regulate the offline sports and to curb any illegal activities as well. In fact, such regulation of online sports would encourage investment in the sector, which could lead to technological advancements as well as the generation of revenue and employment.”

The Court showed its concerns towards the youth, who are the most vulnerable to being “trapped” in these games and losing their money in such bets. It said, “The most dangerous thing for any Society is educated criminals. If a knowledgeable person turns out to be a criminal, it would be havoc on society.”

In the present case, the Court observed that the petitioner, along with his friends, was spectating the game from near a thorny bush, which could not be said to be a public place under Section 12 of the Act. Quashing the FIR, the Court said, “The place at which the gaming had taken place, even according to the respondent Police, is near a thorny bush, cannot be termed as a common gaming house. As the continuation of the investigation, in this case, will amount to an abuse of process of law, this Court is inclined to interfere with the proceedings.”

The Court acknowledged that online gaming is a new industry in the sector and not many governments have laws for regulating the same. In order to better the situation, it suggested that the state government of Tamil Nadu should take a cue from the laws in Sikkim, Nagaland, and Telangana.


 [Read Order]

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