The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Friday stressed upon the urgent need to address and regulate “online Gambling games” such as rummy, bridge, nap, poker, etc. that are luring unemployed youth to bet their money.
“Not only in the State of Tamil Nadu, but also in the entire Country, such online gambling games…are mushrooming and there are so many advertisements appearing in almost all the social media and websites. It appears these advertisements are mostly targeting the unemployed youth, inducing them to play such games, on the pretext of earning money comfortably from their home,” the bench comprised of Justice B.Pugalendhi observed.
It clarified that it is not against the virtual games but is “anguished” that there is no regulatory body to monitor and regulate the legal gaming activities.
“To regulate the physical sports / games, we are having a legislative set up, but having such a set up to deal with the emerging online games / virtual games is the need of the hour. A comprehensive regulatory framework by a regulatory body is necessary to regulate the online sports and to curb any illegal activities as well. In fact, such regulation of online sports would encourage investment in the sector, which could lead to technological advancements as well as generation of revenue and employment,” it opined.
It added that regulation of online games is necessary to prevent youngsters and unemployed youth from being “trapped” in these gambling games and losing all their money. “The most dangerous thing for any Society is educated criminals. If a knowledgeable person turns out to be a criminal, it would be a havoc on the society,” it remarked.
The bench noted that the Petitioner, who claimed to be a mere spectator of the gambling game, was apprehended along with his friends from near a thorny bush. The same could not be said to be a public place in terms of Section 12 of the Act. It therefore quashed the FIR in the following words,
“The place at which the gaming had taken place, even according to the respondent Police, is near a thorny bush, cannot be termed as a common gaming house. As the continuation of the investigation in this case will amount to abuse of process of law, this Court is inclined to interfere with the proceedings.“