Online rummy has now been declared illegal by the state government of Kerala through a notification issued on Saturday, 27 February. The state government amended the Kerala Gaming Act to include online rummy games that are played with real money. The Kerala High Court came to a decision and then urged the state government to take action against the online rummy industry.
The Kerala Gaming Act made all forms of betting or wagering illegal in the state. However, it excluded games of skill and lotteries from the list. According to Section 14A of the Act, games of skill are exempted from the law if they have more elements of skill than that of chance. It was under this particular law that the game of rummy was excluded from the 1976 law.
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In the notification, the Kerala Home Department said, “Keeping in mind the public interest, the government has decided to exclude ‘online rummy when played for stakes’ from the exemption already granted to the game of rummy and also to make a suitable amendment to the said notification.”
The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking to control online rummy in the state was filed in the Kerala High Court. The PIL was filed by a Thissur native named Pauly Vadakkan in which he requested the High Court to declare all forms of online gambling or betting, especially online rummy as illegal. The plea also requested that the game remain banned until a proper regulatory framework was set in place by the state government.
With the ban now in place, anyone caught or found running a gaming house can be subjected to penalties of INR 500, a 3-month prison sentence, or both. Anyone found in these common gaming houses will also be subjected to a fine of INR 500, a 1-month prison sentence, or both.