Kerala declared online rummy ‘illegal’ on Saturday. The ban will come into force with immediate effect. The decision was taken after the Pinarayi Vijayan government amended the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960. According to news agency ANI, the notification was issued regarding the online gaming amendment on Saturday afternoon. The decision comes after the Kerala High Court directive that had urged the state government to take measure against the online rummy business.
During the February 15 hearing, the Kerala High Court was told about the online rummy menace. A Public Interest Litigation filed by movie director Pauly Vadakkan had sought action against such sites that hosted the online rummy games. The director in his plea had said that the online rummy gaming business was ruining the youth of the state. The plea had also mentioned a suicide by a young man after he lost a considerable amount due to his habit of playing online rummy.
The PIL had made headlines after the Kerala High Court had issued notices to Indian Cricket Team Captain Virat Kohli and movie star Tamannaah. Both have been seen in the ads endorsing the Mobile Premier League. The MPL hosts online rummy and other card games.
Kerala is not the first state in India that has banned online rummy. Earlier, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu have also amended existing laws or brought rules to declare online rummy gaming as illegal. Both Gujarat and Delhi High Court have also asked the respective governments to take a decision on the online betting business. Many see such websites, that have been endorsed by sports and movie stars, as a way of making easy money. A 2018 report by FE Online had stated that India was witnessing a 100 per cent increase in such online gaming activities. In terms of revenue also, web card portals were registering phenomenal numbers.