The Madras High Court is set to announce its verdict today on a series of petitions challenging the recently enacted online gaming ban law by the DMK government earlier this year. Prior to the law’s enactment, the Stalin government conducted a thorough public consultation through a committee led by Justice Chandru. The industry association AIGF and top gaming companies like GamesKraft, Play24*7, A23, etc., approached the Court soon after the law’s enactment. The decision of the Court today will be second one in less than three years on constitutionality of online gaming ban laws.
In a crucial decision in August 2021, the High Court declared the online gaming ban provisions, introduced as amendments to the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act, 2021 by the AIADMK government, as unconstitutional and in violation of the fundamental right to practice a profession, occupation, or trade under Article 19 (1)(g) of the Constitution. Currently, an appeal is pending before the Supreme Court, clubbed with a similar appeal from the Karnataka government.
Following public consultation conducted by the Justice Chandru committee, the Tamil Nadu government went ahead with another law, even as the appeal is still pending. Initially introduced as an ordinance, this second law was subsequently enacted as an Act through the legislative assembly.
The upcoming decision is going to shape the evolution of gaming law jurisprudence. Regardless of the outcome, the losing side is likely to file an appeal before the Supreme Court for the final verdict.