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Tamil Nadu Shelves Online Gambling Bill

On Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, the Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ottakarathevar Panneerselvam, shelved an online gambling bill in the Assembly with a large push towards banning the activity in the southern Indian state. This comes after the Chief Minister of the state, Edappadi Karuppa Palaniswami made the announcement on Tamil Nadu moving towards its complete ban following a series of suicides. Those deaths, he claimed, were due to losses faced by people actively participating in online gambling games.

Tamil Nadu move to complete gambling ban

Back in 2020, a Madurai-based resident attended the Madras High Court, seeking out a ban on online gambling websites. Once the PIL was filed, the Madurai bench of the High Court proceeded on with issuing notices to top-name cricketers such as Virat Kohli and Sourav Ganguly for endorsing gambling games. It was at this time that Palaniswami made the announcement on new legislation being brought in to arrest anyone who operates such online games, as well as those who choose to play them. The Chief Minister cited the demand of various groups as being the decision behind the move to have the activity banned.

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Back in November, two more suicides by men who were addicted to gambling were reported. A private bank employee had taken his life prior to this for the same reason following a substantial loss of money and subsequent abuse from his wife. Unable to bear that loss and not capable of dealing with his mental depression, the bank employee hanged himself.

In total, over 11 suicides have been reported in Tamil Nadu due to losses suffered at the hands of online gambling activities. Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, Opposition Leader in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly, lashed out at the state’s government for its delay in banning online gambling games. Even though it was known that these suicides were due to gambling problems, Stalin urged them to do more.

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