15 May 2012 Jonas Lemberg

Reprieve for rummy players: Supreme Court temporarily stays Madras HC decision on rummy, to further hear appeal

In a major reprieve for rummy players, the Supreme Court stayed the Madras High Court decision that prohibited Mahalaxmi Cultural Association (MCA) from making a profit (or permit stakes) from the game of rummy.

The Supreme Court stayed paragraphs 25(1), 25(2) and 25(4) of the earlier division bench decision of the Madras High Court. This means that there is no bar on MCA to offer rummy for stakes. However the Supreme Court has not taken a decision on whether games of skill can be played for stakes or whether profit can be made from such games. Advocate Venkateswara Rao appearing for MCA said that the stay order is only applicable to the rummy games offered by Mahalakshmi Cultural Association and not a blanket order permitting rummy for stakes in the whole of Tamil Nadu.

Rao further said that police may decide to take action against other organisations offering rummy for stakes until this matter is finally decided by the Supreme Court. According to Rao the appeal against the Madras High Court decision is still in its initial stage and arguments will only be heard after the respondents (Chennai police) are given notice. It is believed that it will take at least a couple of years to have a final verdict on this matter.

This pending appeal is extremely significant as the decision of the Supreme Court will decide whether games like rummy, golf etc. can be played for stakes and whether organisations can make profit by offering such gaming services. Online rummy websites said to be worth over Rs. 200 crores will be keenly monitoring developments in the Supreme Court as any such verdict of the Supreme Court will apply uniformly across India. The fate of the skill game industry will hinge on the verdict given by the Supreme Court in this appeal.

Note:

The Supreme Court stay order can be accessed here

The judgment of the division bench of the Madras High Court can be accessed here

This development was first reported on Games24x7 Blog.

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