Suresh Kumar, a BJP legislator has written to Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Finance Minister, to request immediate action to ban advertising, marketing, and texting by online gaming companies. According to a statement, the move was undertaken due to a number of reports from the police across the country highlighting people were losing money in online gambling and ruining their lives. Moreover, it claimed that there have been reports about indebted people taking the extreme step of ending their lives as they were unable to survive the trauma and repay debts, Kumar added.
Courts have upheld the legal validity of online games of skill, but there is no bar on the government from prohibiting advertising/marketing/texting by online gaming companies to lure people into playing these games by betting money, Kumar said. “I am of the strong view that the same regulations should apply to online games involving money,” he added.
According to the statement, he claimed that as part of their marketing strategy, the companies offer a ‘welcome bonus’ of thousands of rupees to lure people and get them to become addicts of the game. Furthermore, he asserted that some people even told him that blocking these numbers has been of no use as these messages and calls come from a new set of numbers, therefore equating this with liquor and cigarettes.
“As a lawmaker, I am in receipt of verbal complaints from several friends and parents of residents from my own constituency as well as from other parts of Bengaluru that they have been getting both text messages on their mobile phones and unsolicited marketing calls trying to entice/force them to play online rummy by betting their money,” Kumar highlighted.
Inputs from PTI