Online Gambling is relatively a new phenomenon. Yet, its influence on society, especially on the youth cannot be denied. The idea of fasts money and easy cash has always been an object of human minds and online gambling cashes on it. Unlike the gambling which is governed by specific rules, online gambling doesn’t have any legislative assertion to keep check on it making it all the more virulent.
The increasing usage of online gambling is extremely problematic. It was with the intention of having laws that keep proper tabs on online gambling that Pauly Vadakkan, filed a PIL in the Kerala High Court. Online gambling is a dangerous arena. The recent incident of a youth suiciding over losing money through online gambling was one of the triggers for the filing of the PIL. The petition pointed out the Kerala Gambling Act, 1961 did not cover online gambling as its provisions did not include online activities in its scope. Two online gambling companies, Play Games 24*7 Private Ltd and Mobile Premier League(MPL) have been included as respondents in the case.
The petition stated that
“These platforms that are even endorsed by celebrities attract their audience with false promise, easily making a fool of unsuspecting people primary targets will be middle to low-income people who are enticed to make easy money. People fall prey to these fraud platforms only to lose what is left of their life’s savings. There have been reports of such scams from across the state.”
The counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Jomy K Jose, also pointed out the fact that the Madras and Gujarat High Courts have brought out orders against online gambling. The petition also mentioned the laws introduced in the states of Odhisa, Assam and Andhra Pradesh against online gambling.
The Court ordered the state government to look into the matter. The Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly, has directed the state government to revert back in 2 weeks after deciding on the laws on the inclusion of online gambling in the Kerala Gambling Act. The state government had said that the chief of police had submitted to consider online gambling under the scope of the Kerala Gambling Act. The state government is looking into the proposal. The Court also issued notices to Cricketer Virat Kohli, actors Tamanna Bhatia and Aju Varghese who were brand ambassadors of online rummy portals.
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