A single judge bench of the Kerala High Court noted that the notification was arbitrary and violative of the right to trade and commerce guaranteed under the constitution

Kerala High Court strikes down ban on online Rummy

By: |
Updated: September 27, 2021 8:05 PM

A single judge bench of the Kerala HC noted that the notification was arbitrary and violative of the right to trade and commerce guaranteed under the constitution

Kerala accounts for 5-7% of the total Rummy segment in India.Kerala accounts for 5-7% of the total Rummy segment in India.

After Madras HC, it’s Kerala’s turn. Kerala High Court on Monday struck down the amendment to a government notification issued under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960 aiming to ban online rummy in the state. The petition in Kerala HC was filed by four gaming companies — Junglee Games India Pvt. Ltd, Play Games 24×7 Pvt. Ltd, Head Digital Works Pvt. Ltd, and Gameskraft Technologies Pvt. Ltd claimed that the Supreme Court and various high courts had already declared online rummy as a game of skill, which is legal in India. A single judge bench of the Kerala HC Justice TR Ravi noted that the notification was arbitrary and violative of the right to trade and commerce guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution. “Online Rummy played either with stakes or without stakes remains to be a ‘game of skill’,” the HC declared.

For Abhishek Malhotra, managing partner, TMT Law Practice, the verdict has once again confirmed the time tested distinction between games of skill and games of chance. “The judgement further strengthens the jurisprudence on the issue that the relevant entry of betting and gambling in List II of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution May not confer power upon the State Legislature to enact a law on betting vis-a-vis games of skill,” he added. According to Roland Landers, CEO, AIGF, the Kerala HC verdict will give a major fillip to the industry by encouraging investments leading to technological advancements as well as generation of revenue and employment

Card-based online games such as Rummy, Poker, among others are played predominantly in South India and the area accounts for a big market share for the sector. As per industry estimates 30-40% of the total revenue of skill based games from South India. Of this, Kerala accounts for 5-7% of the total Rummy segment in India. “Kerala contributes an early double-digit share in TOSG and has seen a very healthy growth rate in terms of users and gameplay. This decision will help remove the negativity around online skills games among the general public, so we can expect good double-digit growth from Kerala in short term. In long term, we really see growth to sustain and be a major market for us, both in terms of user and revenue growth,” Amit Kushwaha, head, brand strategy, Gameskraft, highlighted.

To give perspective, on 23 February, 2021, the Kerala government issued a notification stating that online rummy does not enjoy exemption from the general prohibition of gaming and gambling granted under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960 when played for stakes. Assam, Orissa and Telangana were the first states to ban online games and following the footsteps, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka passed a blanket ban on online “betting” games this year. However, on August 3, Madras High Court quashed the Tamil Nadu Gaming and Police Laws (Amendment) Act of 2021 banning online gaming and called it “excessive and arbitrary”. Despite Madras HC, Karnataka HC and the Supreme Court declaring online gaming as a game of skill, Karnataka government on 21 September, 2021 passed a bill to ban online gambling or betting in the state with maximum imprisonment of three years and penalty up to Rs one lakh. “The judgment by Honorable Kerala High Court is yet another addition to the jurisprudence that has consistently held that games of skill are not akin to gambling and protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution. The decision comes shortly after the Madras High Court judgement, and is a shot in the arm for the sunrise sector of gaming in India,” Dinker Vashisht, vice president, corporate affairs, Games24x7, said.

Adding Kerala High Court to the ever-growing list of High Courts declaring online games such as Rummy and Poker as skill-based games, one questions the futility of the government’s need to pass a bill banning the sector deemed legal in the eyes of the Supreme Court only for the bill to be quashed when challenged in Court.

Read Also: Karnataka Assembly passes bill to ban online gam(bl)ing

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook 

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BrandWagon is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest brand news and updates.

Next Stories
1Singapore Airlines looks forward to seeing customers in the air again with new brand campaign
2Work That Speaks | Ad Reviews | 16 To 24 October 2021
3Making a comeback