Is online rummy legal?

Author: Saahil Bhargava, third year, BBA LL.B., Bennett University. 

Recently Kochi based Pauly Vadakkan filed a petition regarding the online gambling stating, that online gambling is unlawful and celebrities who are endorsing it are wrong in doing so as it attracts wrong publicity. However, there is no proper law in Kerala regarding the online gambling and sending notices to the celebrities like Virat Kohli, Tamannah Bhatia and Aju Varghese doesn’t make sense unless, there were proper laws for regulating the online gambling.

When the gambling came into the limelight considering the rummy, the supreme court gave the verdict in 1967 that rummy is a game of skill and not the game of luck and therefore held that rummy is legal, but every state had different rules for this. In 2015 again, Supreme Court held the same verdict for the online rummy culture and allowed online gambling but the question arises that whether, online rummy is a game of skills or a game of luck?

Online rummy is a game of skills majorly but, for the beginners sometimes it becomes a game of luck as they do not have any knowledge about the skills used in playing it. When the cards are dealt it seems to people that it depends on their luck whether they will get good cards or bad cards, but the real picture is that it depends on how much the player is skilled in dealing with the hand, the better skills will fetch more money.

While the petitioner also wrote in the petition that due to addiction of online rummy two youngsters ended their life as they were not able to overcome their financial problems. It also included a 28 yrs. Old ISRO employee who also ended his life as he spent lakhs and lakhs of money on the game and accumulated a total debt of 21 lakhs. So According to the petition, should we accept that online rummy apps do fraud with their customers? No, the online rummy game apps use automation software called random Number generation which is verified by the various international labs. The RNG ensures that no human interference is allowed in-app and the outcomes are also unpredictable every time. So online rummy is not a fraud trap unless the apps are not RNG certified and the app does not have responsible gaming policy.

In Kerala, there are 18 laws related to public gambling act, 1867 and none of it covers  online gambling and it does not come under common gaming house as the customer play on his phone at home.

The government, instead of sending the notice to the celebrities regarding the endorsements, should first work upon the laws and regulate the online gambling so as to provide proper knowledge about the online gambling addiction and as aforementioned, every state has its own different rules regarding the online gambling, and every celebrity should have knowledge about in which state it is allowed. News channels should also keep in mind that they should not run advertisements regarding the online rummy in their broadcasts.

At last, the author wants to say that online gambling is not illegal but should be played with open eyes and their hard-earned money should not be wasted on gambling to earn easy money. The government should introduce or frame new laws regarding the regulation and monitoring of online gambling games.

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