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Kerala High Court quashes state government’s ban on online rummy

The ruling deals yet another blow to the many attempts by Indian states at regulating online betting and gambling.

The Kerala High Court on September 28 quashed a notification by the Kerala state government that banned the card game rummy. The ban, issued by the Kerala government under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960 in February, came in the form of a notification. The court ruled that the notification was "arbitrary" and violated the right to do business guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India. The ruling came in Gameskraft Technologies Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Kerala. MediaNama has reviewed a copy of the ruling. "The Counsel have placed all their cards on the table. My effort is to arrange them in sets and to declare. If I arrange the cards skilfully and declare [my judgment], then “Rummy is a game of MERE skill”. If I arrange the cards without any skill and still manage to declare, then “Rummy is a game of chance," Justice TR Ravi wrote in the order. The move presents yet another setback to Indian states' attempts to regulate online betting and gambling by way of prohibition. As proven by the Madras High Court which recently struck down (Kerala's neighbour) Tamil Nadu's online gambling prohibition, online gambling and betting operators have benefited from courts frequently holding that "games of skill" — where the outcome isn't entirely dependent on luck, like in a lottery — cannot be outright prohibited, as it cannot be legally classified as gambling. Industry welcomes ban rollback Justice Vikramajit Sen, Member of the Skill Games Council and a…

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