EPWA, India’s Esports Athletes Body, has urged the Tamil Nadu government to recognize games of skill as a separate sport, not associate them with gambling, and provide a safe haven for professional gamers , a senior entity official said on Friday. “We sent a representation to the state government on August 13. We requested the government of Tamil Nadu to recognize games of skill as a separate sport and not associate it with gambling and provide a safe haven for professional players,” Esports Players Welfare Association (EPWA) director Shivani Jha told PTI.
The Madras High Court in August last year struck down a recent amendment to the Tamil Nadu Gambling Act, passed in 1930, which banned online games of rummy and stakes poker. The bench declared Part II of the TN Gaming and Policing Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021 as unconstitutional, which prohibited betting or wagering in cyberspace, as well as games of skill. they were played for a wager, wager, money or other stakes.
The bench, however, granted the state freedom to pass other legislation, without any loopholes.
Tamil Nadu has set up a committee under the chairmanship of retired judge K Chandru to advise on the enactment of new online gambling legislation. The state government has sought input from various stakeholders for new legislation.
Chess Grandmaster Ankit Rajpara, in support of online players, called for central government intervention in the state-imposed ban. “In the past, the central government has reassured actors at stakeholder meetings that we will not be treated like criminals, however, state governments continue to do the opposite,” Rajpara said.
Jha said that several legislations and putting skill-based games in the same bucket as gambling leads to the criminalization of skill-based players.
“As India competes in international tournaments and developers create new games, it is imperative for the state to regulate skill-based online games. , it ends up putting players in danger and equating them with players and criminals,” she said.