A division bench of the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court has given Indian rummy sites the green light to continue their operations—albeit with restrictions—as the court continues to deliberate on Telangana’s new gaming ordinance.
On Thursday, GLaws.in reported that the High Court ruled that rummy companies based in Telangana like Ace2Three could accept customers based outside the state, while continuing to prohibit players from within Telangana.
The Telangana Cabinet recently passed an ordinance amending the state’s Gaming Act of 1974 to ban online gambling. The Telangana State Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 added new definition of “cyber space” in the gaming legislation, making betting and gambling through the internet illegal, which means that playing online matka, sports betting, poker and rummy in the state will now incur criminal penalties.
This prompted Ace2Three, along with fellow rummy sites Rummycircle and Junglee Rummy, to file petitions, noting the “unconstitutional” ordinance violates the sites’ “fundamental right to carry out trade and commerce,” according to the report.
Lawyers for the petitioners noted the Supreme Court considers rummy as a game of skill, so the ordinance, which classifies it as a game of chance, was “impermissible and outside the state’s legislative competence.”
The original Gaming Act exempts “games of skill” from the ambit of gambling, but the ordinance has inserted explanations to Section 15 of the Act, which now states that in order to be classified as a skill game, the game “has to be totally based on the skill and ability of the person,” noting that “any game which partly depends on skill and partly on luck or chance cannot be termed as a game of skill.”
Rummycircle and Junglee Rummy, which are based outside the Telangana, have yet to receive an order from the court. The two, which had not shut down their all-India operations, “will have to continue to prohibit players from Telangana.”
According to the report, Ace2Three has already resumed games for players outside Telangana, Assam and Odisha.
The High Court is scheduled to continue the hearing on July 3.