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Bombay HC Asks State To Clarify The Legality Of Online Poker Games Poker
Manthra Koliyer
Posted on 18 Jan, 2022
By Manthra Koliyer
On 18 Jan, 2022
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By Manthra Koliyer
On 18 Jan, 2022
Share

Bombay HC Asks State To Clarify The Legality Of Online Poker Games


The Mumbai Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court (HC) has asked the state government to clarify if online poker comes under the purview of gambling or is it a game of skill. The court has sought clarification after public interest litigation (PIL) was filed by Munawwar Ahmed through advocate Ajay Deshpande, which sought a ban on platforms promoting online poker games. This PIL was filed against these companies that promote online games. People spend a lot on wagering and betting, which is essentially illegal as per the Bombay Prevention of Gambling (BPG) Act, 1887

The petition further read that online games can become very addictive and thus eventually affect morality. In order to maintain public health, the companies that offer online poker games must be restrained. The next hearing in the PIL is scheduled for 8th February and the state will file its stand in the form of an affidavit in the matter. The division bench of justice Sandipkumar More and justice V K Jadhav was informed that companies hosted online poker games as games of skill. However, since the participants are playing with real money, there is betting and wagering involved, which falls under the Bombay Prevention of Gambling (BPG) Act, 1887.

ALSO READ: Online Gambling In India – What does the future hold?

As per Section 3 of the BPG Act, the bench was informed that wagering or betting except on dog races or horse races amounts to gambling. The petition further stated that the outcome of each round depends on the luck of each player and no skills are involved. Hence, the claims of the companies offering these games are false and are illegal according to Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

While dealing with the right to practice any profession or undertake any trade or business states under subclause (g), the said Article does not confer the right to do anything considered illegal in the eyes of the law. The petition states that as online poker games fall under the purview of section 3 of the BPG Act, it is illegal, and the companies offering it should be restrained from hosting these games.

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