On Monday (7 December) the Madras High Court refused to grant an interim stay on the order declared by the Tamil Nadu government which bans online betting games. The court has, however, ordered the state government to respond to the petition.
The two-member bench of Justices R Subbiah and C Saravanan refused to pass any interim directions on the petition moved by the online gaming company Junglee.
Junglee had said that the Supreme Court in 1968, plus various High Courts across the country in a series of judgments, have declared that rummy is a game of skill, and not a game of chance.
Senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi contended that rummy cannot be banned online if it is allowed to be played legally in many clubs across the country.
Junglee sought a stay on the ordinance passed by the state government banning online betting games. The court issued a notice to the state government to respond to the plea by 21 December.
Another senior counsel for Junglee, PS Raman, said that online gaming is carried out by the company legally, and employs around 300 people, mostly in Gurugram.
However, the state advocate general Vijay Narayan and state advocate AL Somayaji said that youngsters mostly in the age group of 25-30 years are losing their valuable savings and earnings by playing such online games.
The state said that while rummy involves skill, when it also involves money, that amounts to gambling.
Tamil Nadu banned online gaming activity that includes rummy and poker at the end of November, citing the need to protect vulnerable people from losing money.
Several states are moving against online gaming individually, after a lack of central state action on the issue. Andhra Pradesh is another state to have banned online games recently.