IS IT LEGAL TO PLAY RUMMY FOR CASH IN INDIA?

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One of the key questions in the minds of online rummy players is if it is legal to play Online Rummy for cash in India. According to the Indian law playing games of skill do not amount to gambling and is therefore legal but the games are under the purview of state laws so certain states may place their own restrictions. Read the below article completely to understand the legal standing of online rummy in India.

Any real money gaming comes under the preview of Public Gambling Act, 1867. Indian law differentiates between games of skill and games of chance when monetary offerings are involved. Games of skill are treated compared to any other act of entertainment and are not treated as gambling.

The Indian law defines a game to be a game of skill, even with the element of chance if it depends upon:

  • Superior knowledge;
  • Training;
  • Attention;
  • Experience;
  • Adroitness of the Player;
  • The element of skill predominates over the element of chance

Rummy has been declared as a game of skill by the courts in various judgments hence does not fall under the category of gambling.

The various Supreme Court rulings and the Gaming Acts of India imply the following:

  • When bets are wagering on games of chance it is considered to be gambling
  • Playing games of skill for cash does not constitute gambling.
  • Games of skill are exempt from the penal provisions of most gambling acts.
  • Rummy is a game of skill.

Based on this legal background, various legal experts and jurists have opined that online rummy is completely legal in India.

However, the states of Assam, Odisha, Kerala, and Telangana have passed ordinances against playing rummy for cash hence players from these states are prohibited from playing Rummy for cash.

The supreme court has examined the game of rummy many times and ruled that the rummy involved a substantial amount of skill and therefore could not be termed gambling.

In the year 1968, the Supreme Court of India in State of Andhra Pradesh v. Satyanarayan2 (“Satyanarayana Case”) held that Rummy (a 13 card game) was a game of skill and therefore gambling law should not apply. 

  • The Karnataka High court in the case of Karnataka State vs. Anantaswamy Iyer ruled Rummy for stakes to be legal – “The game of Rummy with cards is not a game of chance but a game of skill. The collection of commission from the users of the game who are playing Rummy does not make it a house of gambling. Thus, it does not amount to any offense.”
  • In 2002 Andhra Pradesh High Court in the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. D Krishna Kumar said “Playing rummy even for stakes or money does not violate provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Gaming Act, 1974.
  • Madras High court in 2011 declared that the game of 13-cards like Rummy is a purely a game of skill, and is not a gambling or game of chance. Justice S Rajeswaran, relying on a Supreme Court order of 1968 vintage, said: “The game of Rummy is mainly and predominantly a game of skill.

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