The expansion of the gaming market has revolutionized the gaming laws in the country. Amidst the introduction of novel and forward looking legations like the Nagaland Games of Skill Act, 2016 which legalizes the online games of skill and prevents gambling, the State Government of Telangana has imposed an impediment preventing online gaming or gambling.
The Telangana State Government introduced the Telangana State Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 (Ordinance No. 4 of 2017 & Ordinance No. 6) which explicitly states that a game has to be totally based on the skill and ability of the person to be classified as game of skill and any game which partly depends on skill and partly on luck or chance cannot be termed as a game of skill. The ordinance expressly stated that rummy is not a skill game as it is partly based on skill and partly based on luck or chance.
Owing to the detrimental impact of the aforesaid ordinance upon their business, the online gaming operators are strongly protesting against its implication. A writ petition was filed by Head Infotech Pvt. Ltd. (Ace2Three), Play Games24x7 Pvt. Ltd. (Rummycircle) and Junglee Games Pvt. Ltd. (Junglee Rummy) in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the Telangana State Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017. The said companies alleged the said ordinance to be in violation of the provisions of Article 19(1) (g) thereby impeding freedom to carry on any trade, occupation or business. The Companies also contended this to be contravention to the Supreme Court judgement, which has clearly identified Rummy as being a game of skill [K.R. Lakshmanan v. State of Tamil Nadu 1996 SCC (2) 226]. The High Court granted partial relief to the petitioners by allowing them to deal with the customers based outside the State of Telangana.
The Government of Telangana reasoned the introduction of the said ordinances to redress the complaints received by the Government on account of increasing cases of suicides due to heavy losses incurred through online games involving stakes. In the recent approach towards the furtherance of their objective, the Government of Telangana aims to give the aforesaid ordinances the colour of law by introducing them into the Legislative Assembly thereby imposing ban on online betting and gambling.
The Gaming Amendment Bill, passed by the legislative assembly on 13th November and the legislative council on 14th November, amends the Telangana Gaming Act, 1974 and incorporates the changes in the Gaming Act brought by two ordinances in June and July 2017.
Source: S.S. Rana & Co