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Legal & Regulatory Poker

Gujarat HC Once Again Adjourns Poker Matter to 5th May

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice AJ Shastri could once again not hear letters patent appeals on the legality of poker in the state and the skill element involved in the game . The new date when the matter is likely to be listed for hearing is 5th May, 2020, when the matter might be heard by a new division bench of the court.

Earlier, the High Court had adjourned were scheduled for arguments on 8th January, 2020 to 17th February, 2020 and observed that daily hearings would be conducted from that date to expedite hearings in the matter, and that the matter could be mentioned to be taken up for hearing.

Again, on 17th February, the matter could not be taken up and was adjourned to 9th March, when it was once again adjourned by two months to May 2020.

The hearings on letters patent appeals filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Dominance Games Private Limited, Aman Chhabra and Hotel Ramada, Ahmedabad against a December 2017 single judge bench’s order of the High Court, ruling poker to be a game of chance have been pending for over two and a half years, with little progress and lack of clarity as to by when any decision on the matter would be likely.

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Legal & Regulatory Poker

Gujarat HC Defers Poker Matter to 17th February

The Gujarat High Court once again deferred the hearings of letters patent appeals filed against a single judge bench’s order ruling poker to be a game of chance.

A division bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice AJ Shastri did not hear the appeals that were scheduled for arguments on 8th January, 2020. The court instead adjourned the matter to 17th February, 2020 and observed that daily hearings would be conducted from that date to expedite hearings in the matter.

Letters patent appeals filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Dominance Games Private Limited, Aman Chhabra and Hotel Ramada, Ahmedabad against a December 2017 single judge bench’s order ruling poker to be a game of chance  have been pending for over two years now and have seen 22 adjournments till date.

With the court deciding to expedite hearings in the matter from February 2020 onwards, the possibility of getting a conclusive verdict on the legality of poker has increased. The high stakes matter would have implications on the skill games industry within the state of Gujarat and also have wider ramifications for the industry across the country.

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Legal & Regulatory

Gujarat HC Poker hearings moved to January 2020

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice AJ Shastri did not hear appeals challenging ban on poker in Gujarat on the scheduled date of 19th December.

Letters patent appeals filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Dominance Games Private Limited, Aman Chhabra and Hotel Ramada, Ahmedabad against a single judge bench’s order ruling poker to be a game of chance  have been pending for the last two years, since December 2017, without substantial progress.

On 18th November, 2019, the bench on a plea made by Senior Advocate and Barrister Nakul Dewan representing the appellants recorded that the matter be taken up on 19th December, with permission to mention the matter before the bench on the date.

The High Court had also indicated that it would try to expedite the hearings and ensure early disposal of the appeals.

However, the bench could not hear the matter once again on 19th December due to other matters listed on board. The next date of hearing is now 8th January, 2020.

It remains to be seen if the hearings will gather steam in 2020 or will once again be put in cold storage by the court.

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Legal & Regulatory Poker

Gujarat HC to have day-to-day hearings of poker appeals from 19th December

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court, comprising of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice AJ Shastri once again adjourned a clutch of letters patent appeals filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Dominance Games Private Limited, Aman Chhabra and Hotel Ramada, Ahmedabad against a single judge bench’s order ruling poker to be a game of chance and within the ambit of gambling.

Senior counsel and barrister Nakul Dewan, appearing for IPA Secretary Suresh sought to make his submissions before the bench. The bench however adjourned the matter to 19th December and stated that the hearings of the case would be conducted on a day-to-day basis from 19th December onwards.

The appeals filed against a December 2017 single judge bench order ruling poker to be a game of chance have been marred by adjournments ever since they were first listed two years ago.

The matters however are expected to gather steam and see a final outcome from the Gujarat High Court within the next few months, if day-to-day hearings are indeed conducted from 19th December.

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Legal & Regulatory

Gujarat, Kerala skill gaming matters marred by adjournments

Crucial matters pertaining to the legality of the skill gaming industry: a review petition on whether rummy for stakes can be permitted pending before the Kerala High Court and the letters patent appeal on whether poker is a game of skill in the Gujarat High Court were adjourned without being heard in the past few weeks.

A fresh division bench of the court comprising of newly appointed Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice A.J. Shashtri was supposed to hear the appeal against a 2017 single judge bench order ruling poker to be a game of chance on 16th September.

The clutch of petitions filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Dominance Games Private Limited, Aman Chhabra and Hotel Ramada, Ahmedabad, however could not be heard on 16th September and are now scheduled to be heard on 4th October, 2019.

Meanwhile, the review petitions filed by filed by online rummy websites Ace2Three, RummyCircle and Junglee Rummy against a January 2019 order of the division bench of the Kerala High Court saw three successive adjournments without much progress.

The matter, last posted on 4th September before a division bench comprising of Justices AM Shaffique and N. Anil Kumar has now been posted for hearing on 24th September, 2019.

It remains to be seen whether the matters on poker and rummy, critical to the skill gaming industry will gain momentum in the next few weeks or see further adjournments.

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Legal & Regulatory

Kerala HC rummy & Gujarat HC poker matters adjourned once again

Last week saw adjournments in key matters relating to the legality of rummy and poker by the Kerala and Gujarat High Courts respectively, leading to possibility of a further delay of at least a few more months on clarity regarding the legality of skill games played for stakes.

A division bench of the Kerala High Court while hearing a clutch of review petitions on Friday 19th July, filed by online rummy websites Ace2Three, RummyCircle and Junglee Rummy adjourned the matter by another two weeks. The matter is now scheduled to be heard on 6th August, 2019.

The adjournment was granted by a bench comprising of Justices AM Shaffique and N. Anil Kumar at the request of the state government, which sought more time for coming up with a response to the online rummy companies’ contentions.

In April this year, RummyCircle (followed by other rummy websites) had filed a review petition against a January 2019 order of a division bench of the High Court which held that playing the game of rummy for stakes or wagering on it is not just an innocent pastime but amounts to the offence of gaming under the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960.

Meanwhile a division bench of the Gujarat High Court also did not take up the appeal against a single judge’s 2017 order ruling poker to be a game of chance and falling within the ambit of gambling.

A division bench of the court comprising of Acting Chief Justice Anant S. Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav was supposed to hear the appeal filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Dominance Games Private Limited, Aman Chhabra and Hotel Ramada, Ahmedabad on 18th June and then again on 19th July.

The court however could not take up the matter on both occasions and the hearing for the case has now been adjourned for about two months. As per the Gujarat High Court website, the matter will now be listed for hearing again in about two months from now, on 16th September, 2019.

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Gaming Legal & Regulatory

Gujarat may introduce new law to ban online gambling

The Gujarat government has initiated preliminary discussions to explore the possibility of amending the existing gambling legislation, i.e. the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act to cover online gambling and betting, as per a report in the Times of India.

The proposed changes to the existing laws are being discussed at the request of the Ahmedabad police department officials who felt that the current laws mainly cover gambling and betting in physical locations and are not stringent enough.

Ahmedabad police commissioner AK Singh confirmed that the Gujarat home department and officials of the CID crime branch have held a meeting to discuss changes to the existing gambling laws. Singh added that the state government is working on the issue so as to ensure that people indulging in online gambling are dealt in accordance with law.

The police commissioner added that the current gambling act does not give the department enough power and also discussed about banning the game of poker.

Various police commissionaires in cities of Gujarat such as Rajkot, Surat, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar etc. recently issued orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 37(3) of the Gujarat Police Act to ban the game of PlayUnknowns’ Battlegrounds (PUBG) within their respective jurisdictions citing adverse impact of the game on the health of children and youth.

In December 2017, a single bench of the Gujarat High Court had ruled that the game of poker was one which involved chance and consequently playing the game amounted to an offence under the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act. A challenge to the order is pending before the division bench of the High Court which is expected to hear the matter on 20th June.

Is gambling legal in India? Read more on Glaws.in.

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Legal & Regulatory

Gujarat HC adjourns poker appeal to 20th June

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising of Acting Chief Justice Anant S. Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav adjourned the letters patent appeal filed by three appellants- Dominance Games Private Limited, Hotel Ramada Ahmedabad and Aman Chabbra to 20th June, 2019.

The hearing, which will determine the legality of poker played in clubs and whether it is a game of skill, was supposed to be conducted on 11th March, but the matter was adjourned until after the summer vacation of the High Court.

Meanwhile, an application filed by Indian Poker Association (IPA) Secretary KN Suresh to restore his letters patent appeal, which was dismissed for non-appearance on 14th February, has also not yet been heard by the court and may come up for hearing in June.

The letters patent appeals have been preferred against the December 2017 order of a single judge bench of the Gujarat High Court, that ruled poker to be a game of chance and falling within the ambit of gambling. The petitions have been pending for the last year and a half without much progress or substantial hearing, with frequent changes in the composition of the bench hearing the matter. It remains to be seen whether the hearings will gather momentum after June 2019 or if the matter will remain in cold storage for a longer period.

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Legal & Regulatory

Gujarat HC dismisses KN Suresh’s poker appeal for default, other clubs’ petitions to come up for hearing on 11th March

A division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising of Acting Chief Justice Anant S. Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav dismissed Indian Poker Association (IPA) Secretary KN Suresh’s letters patent appeal on the legality of poker on 14th February, 2019 for default.

Suresh who was expected to appear as a party in person to argue his case, failed to do so when the matter was called out on 14th February and hence the appeal was dismissed. The order recorded by the court noted, ‘When the matter is called out party-in-person is not present. Hence, the present appeal along with the application stands dismissed for default. Notice is discharged. Interim relief, if any, stands vacated.’

Reflecting on the order, Suresh noted that the court had unwisely dismissed his appeal when there are three other appeals on the same issue pending and added that he had moved an application for restoration of the petition.

In the meanwhile, the other appeals filed against the common order of the single judge of the Gujarat High Court are slated to come up for hearing on 11th March, 2019.

Hotel Ramada, Dominance Games Private Limited and Aman Chabbra are the other appellants who have challenged the single judge bench order of the Gujarat High Court dated 4th December, 2017 that held poker to be a game of chance and amounted to the offence of gambling under the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act.

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Legal & Regulatory

Gujarat HC poker matters adjourned once again

The letters patent appeals pertaining to the legality of poker were once again adjourned by the Gujarat High Court without any hearing.

On 7th February, a clutch of letters patent appeals filed by Indian Poker Association Secretary KN Suresh, Hotel Ramada and Aman Chhabra were supposed to be heard by a division bench of the Gujarat High Court comprising of Acting Chief Justice Anant Dave and Justice Biren Vaishnav. The appeals now stand adjourned and will be listed again on 14th February.

Another appeal on the same issue filed by Dominance Games Private Limited was supposed to be heard on 8th February, 2019 by the same bench but is now adjourned and likely to be listed on 11th March, 2019.

On 4th December 2017, a single judge bench of the High Court comprising of Justice Rajesh H. Shukla, while deciding on a clutch of petitions, ruled that the game of poker is a game of chance and if the game is played within the state of Gujarat, it would amount to being a criminal offence.

The appeal against this order to a division bench has not seen any progress for the past 15 months.  It is likely that all connected petitions related to the poker matter will be listed and heard by the Gujarat High Court within the next one month.