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Gujarat HC judgement on poker legality deferred to 30th November



A single judge bench of the Gujarat High Court has deferred the judgement in the matter of Dominance Games Pvt. Ltd. and other poker clubs by one week.

Justice Rajesh H. Shukla was supposed to deliver a conclusive decision on whether the game of poker involves skill and whether playing poker in clubs would constitute an offence under the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act. After months of arguments by counsels from the state government and seven clubs, the court had reserved its order for 23rd November.

Eight matters pertaining to Gambling Act cases, including the Isanpur Gymkhana matter relating to crackdown on illegal gambling clubs as well as Dominance Games, Rollers Training Institute of Cards, AAA Gaming and Indian Poker Association cases relating to poker were listed for orders on top of the board today as per the cause list.

However, it is understood that Justice Shukla announced today that the judgement would now be delivered only next week, i.e. on 30th November. No reason was given for the deferment of the verdict.

Interestingly, another petition filed by Samir Patel was also listed for orders today. Last week, a similar criminal petition filed by Patel with a different bench, making the state government, police and Department of Culture and Sports parties that inter alia, sought non-interference from the police in rummy and poker activities conducted by his club, was summarily dismissed by Justice JB Pardiwala.

The Gujarat High Court’s verdict that is now expected on 30th November will have a major impact on the burgeoning online poker, rummy and skill games industry. The losing party in the matter is almost certain to immediately file an appeal with the division bench of the High Court.

Jay has researched extensively on gaming laws and has been cited by various media houses and journals as an expert. He has helped leading newspapers in their stories on gaming laws. Jay completed his B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree from NUJS, Kolkata in 2015 and is currently based out of Mumbai.