The Madras High Court on Friday voiced concern that unemployed youth were being lured and made to become addicts by portals offering online gambling games such as Rummy and suggested that the Tamil Nadu government take measures to pass suitable legislation for regulating them through license.
A comprehensive regulatory framework by a regulatory body was necessary for online sports and to curb illegal activities as well, Justice B Pugalendi observed while cautioning that if a youngster losing money in the game turned out to be a criminal it would wreak havoc on the society.
The court was discussing the issue as a senior state police official had earlier submitted, in response to a court query, that there was no rule to regulate and license the online skill games, he said.
Such a regulation would encourage investment in the sector, which could lead to technological advancements as well as generation of revenue and employment, he said while quashing a criminal case filed against a teacher for taking part in a card-based gambling.
Noting that the social media was attracting the youngsters to play online games by offering prize money, the Judge said those getting addicted to games such as Rummy, a card game, were losing money and getting frustrated.
He cautioned that such youngsters who get trapped in such a manner may go to any level to meet their financial loss in the game.
The most dangerous for any society was educated criminals.
If the knowledgeable persons who played gambling turned out to be a criminal, it would wreak havoc on society.
"Keeping all these aspects in mind the government should regulate and monitor such virtual games, like some states which had amended their prevailing gaming acts, the Judge said.
Pointing to the state governments ban on lottery tickets and usury which ruined many families, he said similarly the online games also should be regulated to prevent alarming situations while keeping in mind the law of the land
as well as judicial procedures.
The government, if it intends to enact a law in this regard, should put on notice all the stakeholders and get their views before bringing the legislation.
In the instant case, the Judge said the teacher, who was booked under the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act, even according to the police had played cards near a thorny bush and the place cannot be termed as a common gaming house.
The continuation of the investigation in the case will amount to abuse of process of law, the judge said and quashed the case.
CEO, All India Gaming Federation, Roland Landers welcomed a regulatory framework to provide "clarity to the sunrise online gaming industry with a view to encourage investments leading to technological advancements as well as generation of revenue and employment.