From The Courts

August 03, 2020

PIL filed in the Madras HC seeking a direction to shutdown online gaming sites

[ by Legal Era News Network ]


Moved by several youngsters getting hooked to online gambling and also one youth committing suicide, a lawyer has filed a public interest litigation petition in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to shutdown online gaming sites, arrest and prosecution of promoters and the brand ambassadors.

The petitioner has also sought a direction to arrest and prosecute test cricketer Virat Kohli and actor Tamannaah for their role in abetting the youngsters to gamble online as playing and abetment to play gambling is a criminal offence.

 When queried on the rationale of his plea for arrest and prosecution of Kohli and Tamannaah as they are just paid brand ambassadors, the petitioner A.P.Suryaprakasam said, “They are the major influencing factor. Gambling is evil and they are promoting it. As a matter of fact, the amended Consumer Protection Act has a provision that for false advertisements the brand ambassadors are responsible.”

According to him, the brand ambassadors cannot wash away their hands saying that they are just paid performer - just like an arrow while the archer is the wrong doer. “The online gaming addict after sometime resorts of domestic violence to raise money or heavy borrowing to play,” Suryaprakasam said. He added that, “No other sports body promotes the game saying the earning potential. When there is a monetary element involved in a game then it is nothing but gambling.”

In the petition he had said online gambling sites are more dangerous than the blue whale game as by getting addicted to this gambling, the victim not only spend his money but also spend their family members’ money and put them in a financial burden while in the case of blue whale, the victim alone suffer.

He said the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court suo moto took up a case against the blue whale game and directed the government to ban it.

Suryaprakasam said initially the youngsters fall into the gambling lured by the initial bonus being offered by these unscrupulous people and subsequently started to spend their hard earned money or the hard earned savings of their family members knowingly or unknowingly affect of such family members.

“After losing heavily and unable to raise any further resources within their house these youngsters are forced to borrow at exorbitant rate of interest and in some cases they go to the extent of committing crime to raise money to gamble. Subsequently, when they are not able to return or repay the debt they commit suicide,” he said in his plea.

Recently, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court suggested to the Tamil Nadu government that it enact suitable laws to regulate the online gaming industry.

Citing the laws against lottery and charging of usurious interest enacted by the Tamil Nadu government, the court hoped that it will also take note of the present alarming situation and pass suitable legislation to regulate and control online gaming through license, keeping in mind the law of the land as well as the judicial precedents in this regard.

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