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6 Mar 2020

Delhi HC declines interim blocking of poker & betting websites, next hearing on 31st July

Delhi HC

A division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi declined to issue an order directing interim blocking of online gambling, betting and poker websites in the PIL filed by social activist Avinash Mehrotra.

“No interim relief. Let it go on,” the bench stated when advocates Prashant Kumar, Siddhartha Iyer, Saurabh Suman Sinha, Awantika Manohar and M/s AP&J Chambers, appearing on behalf of Mehrotra, pressed for blocking of online gambling, betting and poker websites due to possibility of heavy betting on the portals on account of the upcoming cricket world cup.

The court however issued notice to the centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and sought their response on Mehrotra’s petition which has alleged that illegal and illicit gambling, betting and poker portals are soliciting bets from India in violation of foreign exchange laws, tax laws and existing gambling legislation.

Meanwhile, senior counsel Sandeep Sethi along with law firm Nishith Desai Associates and Gaggar & Partners’ managing partner Vaibhav Gaggar, acting on behalf of the All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) sought to bring to the attention of the court that some online India-based poker portals including Adda52 and are wrongly included in the petition.

Sethi argued that online poker portals operating in the country are ‘games of skill’ and poker has been wrongly classified as a ‘game of chance’ in the petition.

AIGF has sought to formally intervene as a party in the matter before the matter is heard again on 31st July, 2019.

Read more about gambling laws in India.

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