Tamil Nadu bans Online Gaming

Contributed by: BTG Legal






On November 20, 2020, the state of Tamil Nadu passed the "Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 ("Ordinance"). The Ordinance amends the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 and police laws, i.e., Police Act, 1988 and Police Act, 1859 (collectively "Acts"), to prohibit online gaming on games of chance in the state.

A copy of the Ordinance can be accessed HERE.

  1. The Ordinance makes the following changes, among others – Bans online gaming: It prohibits persons from wagering or betting in cyberspace using computers, any communication device or any other instrument of gaming by playing rummy, poker or any other game.

  2. Gaming, wager and bet: Gaming has been defined to include ‘wagering’ and ‘betting’ in cyberspace. Wagering or betting comprise the collection or solicitation of bets, receipt or distribution of winnings or prizes, in money or otherwise, including through electronic transfer of funds or any act intended to aid, induce, solicit or facilitate wagering or betting or such collection, soliciting, receipt, or distribution.

  3. Using instruments of gaming: These includes computers, any communication device, any other article for gaming or any document or electronic record used to register or record evidence of gaming, proceeds of any gaming and any prize money. Under the Acts it is illegal to possess such instruments.

  4. Penalties: Fines ranging between INR 500 to INR 10,000 have been prescribed for and/ or imprisonment for a term of up to 2 years may be imposed on persons wagering or betting (including those facilitating such acts) or operating a common gaming house for running a common gaming house.

  5. Games of Skill Exempted: Games of skill are still allowed.

  • Bans online gaming: It prohibits persons from wagering or betting in cyberspace using computers, any communication device or any other instrument of gaming by playing rummy, poker or any other game.

  • Gaming, wager and bet: Gaming has been defined to include ‘wagering’ and ‘betting’ in cyberspace. Wagering or betting comprise the collection or solicitation of bets, receipt or distribution of winnings or prizes, in money or otherwise, including through electronic transfer of funds or any act intended to aid, induce, solicit or facilitate wagering or betting or such collection, soliciting, receipt, or distribution.

  • Using instruments of gaming: These includes computers, any communication device, any other article for gaming or any document or electronic record used to register or record evidence of gaming, proceeds of any gaming and any prize money. Under the Acts it is illegal to possess such instruments.

  • Penalties: Fines ranging between INR 500 to INR 10,000 have been prescribed for and/ or imprisonment for a term of up to 2 years may be imposed on persons wagering or betting (including those facilitating such acts) or operating a common gaming house for running a common gaming house.

  • Games of Skill Exempted: Games of skill are still allowed.


How this may affect you:

  1. The Ordinance prohibits wagering or betting on, offering, and promoting any online game using computers or communication devices. It primarily targets persons that play such games or offer them in a common gaming house. Since the definition of wagering or betting also covers those who aid and facilitate such activities, anyone promoting such games (for e.g., advertisers, etc.) may also be penalised. The Ordinance, however, does not modify the position on games of skill, and such games are still permitted.

  2. To be clear, the Ordinance applies only in the state of Tamil Nadu and does not extend to other states. It will have to be approved by the Tamil Nadu assembly once it reconvenes for the winter session, otherwise it will expire within 6 weeks of the assembly convening.

  3. So far online gaming has not yet been widely legislated over in India and stands in the grey area of the law in most Indian states. As such, an ancillary impact of the Ordinance may also be that other states may make similar modifications to their laws.

  • The Ordinance prohibits wagering or betting on, offering and promoting any online game using computers or communication devices. It primarily targets persons that play such games or offer them in a common gaming house. Since the definition of wagering or betting also covers those who aid and facilitate such activities, anyone promoting such games (for e.g., advertisers, etc.) may also be penalised. The Ordinance, however, does not modify the position on games of skill, and such games are still permitted.

  • To be clear, the Ordinance applies only in the state of Tamil Nadu and does not extend to other states. It will have to be approved by the Tamil Nadu assembly once it reconvenes for the winter session, otherwise it will expire within 6 weeks of the assembly convening.

  • So far online gaming has not yet been widely legislated over in India and stands in the grey area of the law in most Indian states. As such, an ancillary impact of the Ordinance may also be that other states may make similar modifications to their laws.Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions on the impact of the Ordinance.

Contributed by BTG Legal


The above article has been authored by Mr. Vikram Jeet Singh(Partner). If you have any questions, please write to vikram@btg-legal.com