Chennai: In a partial setback for the Tamil Nadu Government, the Madras High Court on Thursday ruled that its law banning online gambling would not apply to “games of skill” such as rummy and poker.
However, the First Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjay V Gangapurwala and Justice PD Audikesavalu, refused to strike down the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Online Gambling and Regulation of Online Games Act 2022 in its entirety. The prohibition on online gambling, as laid down under the law, would continue to be applicable to “games of chance”.
The judges, passing orders on petitions challenging the Act, held that the State government had miserably failed to demonstrate how rummy and poker, which the Supreme Court had earlier declared to be games of skill, would become games of chance when played online.
“The State could not gather authentic evidence about bots being used or that the software knows all the cards in the hands of each player, so also the unopened cards or that the software could change the unopened cards. In the absence thereof, it will be too far-fetched to arrive at a decision on the basis of assumptions by the State,” the court held.
“The games of rummy and poker, which are considered as games of skill are also now sought to be played online. In online games of rummy and poker also, the same brain activity would be involved as required for offline games of rummy and poker,” the judge said in their order.