Online gaming and gambling laws in India are in a state of flux. As the stakes are high and online gamings being a lucrative market in India, many stakeholders have taken up the matter before the Supreme Court of India to get a clear legal position. The decision of Indian Supreme Court may establish legality or illegality of online games like rummy, poker, etc.
However, we at Perry4Law believe that online rummy and online poker may still be illegal and punishable despite this judgement of Supreme Court. This is because Indian Supreme Court is not dealing with the legality of online rummy and online poker in strict and absolute sense. As a result the legal position in this field would remain a grey area. In fact, a decision by Supreme Court without any legislative support may be counterproductive.
The real trouble seems to be use of cash or stakes while conducting online rummy and poker competitions without following all the applicable laws of India. This issue is partially covered before the Supreme Court that also between the parties to this litigation alone. Both third parties and the parties to the litigation are in a legally risky position.
Supreme Court is very well aware of this situation and it has taken a stand that was very much required. The Court has asked the Central Government for its legal stand regarding games like online rummy, online poker, etc. The Court issues a notice to the Centre asking it to spell out its position on the legality or otherwise of the online game of rummy and card games involving stakes. The court also extended its stay on Madras High Court judgment that had held these games illegal as these involved gambling. However, the stay is applicable only to the petitioners before the Court. This means other are vulnerable to legal risks and they cannot take the protection of this stay.
The next hearing of the matter has been fixed for September 25, 2014. However, there are no hints that the matter would be settled very soon. It may take few more months or years before the matter is finally settled. We at Perry4Law strongly recommend that online gaming entrepreneurs must ensure techno legal compliance in order to stay on the right side of the law till legal position is made clear in this regard.