Chandru committee did not hear us, lament online gaming community

“We submitted our representations to meet the committee members but were not given permission to meet them. Plus, we’re unsure how much data the committee was able to collect in 15 days and submitted it to the State government. Without consulting us, the report will be one-sided,” said Sameer Barde, CEO, E-Gaming Federation.
Representative image
Representative image

CHENNAI: The committee tabling its report favouring ban on online rummy was not received well with the online gaming community, as they feel that the committee did not meet them or get their views.

“We submitted our representations to meet the committee members but were not given permission to meet them. Plus, we’re unsure how much data the committee was able to collect in 15 days and submitted it to the State government. Without consulting us, the report will be one-sided,” said Sameer Barde, CEO, E-Gaming Federation.

Following political pressure, the State government appointed a committee with retired Justice Chandru as the chairman to look into the adverse impact of online rummy. After 15 days, the committee submitted its report on Monday.

The report used data of multiple agencies such as the number of suicides due to online rummy, the amount of money involved in the game, the issue of addition and mental health and so on.

The cabinet discussed the report and decided to enact an Ordinance to ban online rummy.

Predictably, the online gaming community is unhappy with the ban, and believes that banning a game does not solve current problems, but only give rise to new ones.

“There are many Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) in the market where banned games can be played multiple times. When a game is banned, only legitimate players will leave the game. More and more illegal players will come into the games. Moreover, the game will be taken underground and all transactions will be made illegal, which will pave the way for more black money,” explained Sameer.

Speaking about the legal aspects, Sameer pointed out

that the Supreme Court in several cases have upheld that online rummy is legal and that it was a game of talent. Even the Madras HC shared similar views, as the law to ban online rummy introduced by the previous AIADMK government was struck down.

“Instead of banning, we hope that the State government would regulate online gaming. For instance, bots can be removed,” added Sameer. “Similarly, changes can be introduced to improve the skills of players and it can be monitored only as long as it remains legal and is regulated.”

Sameer is confident that the State government will not make the same mistake again by supporting a blanket ban on online rummy.

However, it’s noteworthy that the committee submitted to the State that companies were interested only in making money and not in developing a player’s skill. It contended that the State should impose restrictions in online gaming including prohibition.

Interest of the companies was to only make more money and not in developing the player’s skill. The State should impose restrictions on online gaming including prohibition — Justice Chandru, committee chairman

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