12th November could bring the most awaited decision in gaming industry of India with Supreme Court hearing Mahalakshmi Cultural Association case of playing rummy for stakes. Government of India acquitted this matter on 25th September saying states are authorised to take a decision in matter concerning gambling and betting. Supreme Court had sought the central government’s notion on this issue in past proceedings referring it to be a constitutional subject which involves the Public Gambling Act, 1867 and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Kapil Sibal and Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, senior counsels appeared for Head Infotech Pvt. Ltd. and Play Games 24×7 Pvt. Ltd. in the past hearings defending rummy as a game of skill and delineated the model of online rummy game, procedures involved in handling money and the rakes charged. Dr. Singhvi vindicated the legality of online rummy cash games quoting several the past instances wherein rummy has been accepted to be a game of skill by several courts including the Supreme Court.
A group of petitioners which includes Mahalakshmi Cultural Association, online rummy companies Head Infotech Ltd, Play Games 24×7 Pvt Ltd and other rummy clubs are anticipating a judgment since 13th August 2014 when the Supreme Court heard their submissions in this Special Leave Petition against an adverse Madras High Court ruling that prohibited playing of rummy for stakes. The case which was filed two years back in 2012 has taken its course and expected to culminate with all legal affairs on online rummy getting coherent and the Supreme Court issuing a concise directive on the matter.
A positive decision which is most likely to come in this case will push for legal reforms for entire gaming industry in India. Whether the highest court of the country permits the companies to run the game of skills under the current legal framework or proposes a new guideline to monitor this thriving industry would be a point to watch. It may also boost the companies to challenge the laws of Orissa and Assam which imposes a ban on betting in game of skills like rummy.
Millions of rummy lovers across India and the companies hosting it are looking forward to judgment in this case which will reinforce their roots and promote this game to new levels.