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HC reserves order on PIL against online gaming in Gujarat

by Manthra Koliyer Posted on 30 Sep, 2020

In India gambling laws are not uniform as every state has their own specific laws, which lets gambling possible only to a certain, limited extent. The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a PIL that is seeking a ban on online gambling, particularly the game of rummy.

Amit Nair is the petitioner advocate who filed the PIL and urged the High Court to declare illegal gambling in the virtual space through mobile or computer, particularly online rummy, and to be in violation of the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act.

According to the petition, it contended that the present law does not particularly regulate online gambling. The petitioner’s lawyer, Bhargav Hasurkar, mentioned that with the advent of new technologies online gambling has only been a menace to people. It was recorded that online gambling increased by 21% during the Covid-19 pandemic and especially during the lockdown period. It was also briefly clarified that the PIL was not against online gaming altogether, but only against the gambling aspect of it. The PIL acknowledged Section 13 of the Gambling Act which exempts games of skill.

The petitioner cited various court orders and laws that showed how different Indian states are dealing with online gambling activities. He cited a high court order in Kerala, which says that playing rummy as an innocent pastime is no offence. It is a game of skill, but if it is played with stakes, it is considered an offence. He also added that Andhra Pradesh has banned online rummy. 

The PIL also addressed that there are several advertisements that get played on mobile applications and on social media too enticing people to start playing rummy online by offering a small amount as credit and promising lakhs in return. Even film stars and sports celebrities have been roped in by such websites for endorsement. 

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