Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: Is Online Poker a Game of Chance or Skill?

On Thursday, the Delhi High Court has asked the AAP government and the center to come to a decision about the online gambling website after doing verification on whether these games of chance or skill.

A bench consisting of Justice C Hari Shankar and Chief Justice DN Patel has asked the center and the state government to work on a PIL in this regard as the representation and then a decision on the stature of online gambling which includes poker and has asked if these have to partially restricted or banned.

According to the High Court, the Center has to take care of money laundering, taxation, and the Foreign Exchange Management Act violations in case the game process and any time it takes a decision on the validity of their online activity and legality. Following this, the High Court dismissed both the petitions.

This bench in the high court has come to a decision following the submission by the Gaurang Kanth; the standing counsel of the central government that gambling is a subject of the state and the role of the Union government is limited in this case. The Center has also added that blocking the site which includes poker and card game is not feasible. This is because several states have enacted laws that fully or partially allow these activities.

The Delhi Government has told the court that it will only be able to take an action when the gambling site is being hosted at the national capital or during the cases of offline gambling.

In an RBI affidavit, it said that they have taken all of their steps under Foreign Exchange Management Act for prohibiting, bar, and forbid any type of transaction that was illegal and in opposition to the Forex laws.

The stand of RBI and the two governments have come up in response to the 2 PILLS that want an end to the operation of sites that give people the opportunity to gamble and take part in a game of chance by betting, such as poker.

After listening to the petitions in behalf of Deepti Bhagat and Avinash Mehrotra, the petitioners and the authorities, the bench asked the Delhi and Center government to treat these petitions like representations and then make a decision about banning the sites that are referred in pleas when they have already made sure if they host game of chance or skill.

According to the two petitions that have been submitted, gambling and gaming sites are pushing people to spend the money that they have earned on these games of luck or chance such as blackjack or poker. The success of these games is primarily based on the turn of the card and thus, there are no skills involved. These petitions also claim that a majority of these sites are outside India and this is leading to a flight of foreign exchange from a country which is violating the Foreign Exchange Management Act or FEMA.

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