The Tamil Nadu government has recently approved an ordinance to regulate online gambling including banning of 'online games with stakes' in the state. As per a poll conducted by Business Today, a majority of respondents across different social media platforms felt such a ban on online gaming where bets were involved was justified (Twitter: 63.3 per cent, Linkedin: 69 per cent, YouTube: 68 per cent, Instagram: 50 per cent, Telegram: 70 per cent).
Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin had set up up a committee under the chairmanship of retired Justice K Chandru for advising on enacting fresh legislation on online games in June. However, India esports athletes body EPWA has urged the Tamil Nadu government to recognise skill games as a distinct sport and not club it along with gambling and provide a safe harbour for professional players.
In order to understand this better, the BT poll also asked, "Is online gaming with bets the same as online gambling?" Here, users across platforms mostly agreed that online gaming with bets was akin to online gambling (Linkedin: 82 per cent, YouTube: 76 per cent, Instagram: 67 per cent, Telegram: 89 per cent). On YouTube, some respondents commented that while the two were not exactly the same but they were close in nature.
Some respondents also presented a counter to this while commenting on how skill set was required for gaming versus how pure luck was a factor for online gambling.
59.3 per cent of respondents on Twitter felt that the online gaming with bets was not the same as online gambling.
While the ordinance awaits to be promulgated after Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi gives his assent, the online gaming industry, which has witnessed a rapid rise in India, could face a tough setback if more states were to follow suit.
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