According to India’s politicians, the card game rummy is dangerous. This is the takeaway after the country’s president, Ram Nath Kovind, signed off on a new law that was introduced by the Telengana legislature to include the game as an offense under the Telangana Gaming Act (TGA) of 1974. The TGA includes language to cover online rummy, as well, and lawmakers have lumped it into the same group as kidnappings, drug peddling and armed robbery.
GLaws reports that President Kovind has approved amendments to the state’s Telangana Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Dacoits, Drug-Offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders and Land-Grabbers (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by both houses last year. Because the bill included amendments to the TGA, it was sent to the union government to be reviewed. The bill was subsequently reviewed by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, who gave its nod to the president for his signature.
Per the updated law, state police can now, in theory, detain anyone for committing an offense in violation of the TGA. Those individuals can also be kept locked up in prison for as many as 12 months without bail or trial if necessary “to maintain public order.”
Telangana passed two ordinances in 2017 that were designed to prohibit rummy, as well as other games of skill. Those ordinances were subsequently modified to become part of an Amendment Bill that was approved by the Telangana government and its governor, Ekkadu Srinivasan Lakshmi Narasimhan.
After Telangana introduced its bill, a number of rummy-centered companies decided to challenge the government in court. Ace2Three, RummyCircle, Junlee Rummy and Classic Rummy took the matter to the Telangana High Court, which only recently took the time to hear the case. It has so far said only that the companies can continue to offer their platforms to customers outside of Telangana. More discussion is expected on October 10.