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Is Online Rummy Legal in India?

Gambling, accordingly by the definition of Supreme Court is betting and wagering on games of chances excluding the games which require skills. But wait, isn’t Rummy a game of skill? In rummy, skill set and strategy outweigh the probability of chance. The act of picking up and discarding cards at his own peril entirely depends on the skills and level of understanding by the player.

Quoting the 1996 Judgement by Supreme Court

The expression 'gaming' in the two Acts has to be interpreted in the light of the law laid-down by this Court in the two 1957 cases, wherein it has been authoritatively held that a competition which substantially depends on skill is not gambling. Gaming is the act or practice of gambling on a game of chance. It is staking on chance where chance is the controlling factor. 'Gaming' in the two Acts would, therefore, mean wagering or betting on games of chance. It would not include games of skill like horse racing."

A game of skill, on the other hand - although the element of chance necessarily cannot be entirely eliminated --is one in which success depends principally upon the superior knowledge, training, attention, experience and adroitness of the player. Golf, chess and even Rummy are considered to be games of skill. The Courts have reasoned that there are few games, if any, which consist purely of chance or skill, and as such a game of chance is one in which the element of chance predominates over the element of skill, and a game of skill is one in which the element of skill predominates over the element of chance. It is the dominant element --"skill" or "chance" -- which determines the character of the game."

According to a judgment by Supreme Court on 1968

“The game of rummy is not a game entirely of chance like the 'three-card' game. The 'three-card' game, which goes under different names such as 'flush', 'brag', etc is a game of pure chance. Rummy, on the other hand, requires a certain amount of skill because the fall of the card has to be memorized and there building up of Rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards.

So, it is pretty evident that skill set of the player determines the result of the game.

Further quoting other judgments in support to our claim that Online Rummy is legal;

  1. Supreme Court - 1967 - State of Andhra Pradesh v. K. Satyanarayana- Rummy is a game of skill - The Supreme Court of India ruled that Rummy requires certain amount of skill because the fall of the card has to be memorized. Decision has been relied on in various subsequent judgments.
  2. Karnataka HC – 1982 - State of Karnataka v. Anantaswamy Iyer - 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 members of the club playing Rummy does not make it a gambling house. Thus, it does not amount to any offense.”
  3. 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. The statutes specifically are worded to save games of skill from any criminal liability.”
  4. Madras High court in 2011 mentioned that the 13-card games like Rummy is a game of skill, and not 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."
  5. Moreover on Aug 13, 2015, Supreme Court while hearing an appeal challenging a Madras High Court ruling that playing rummy with stakes amounted to gambling, ruled that the verdict of this case would not impact online gaming sites.

Further, the Public Gambling Act, which is the central law on gambling and most subsequent state laws on the subject substantially state that "nothing in this Act shall apply to games of mere skill wherever played". The Rummy games are protected by the Constitution of India under Article 19[1] (g).

Exemptions to play rummy online at Deccanrummy

  • State laws of Assam & Orissa do not provide a clear exemption to playing for cash.

  • When we get more clarity on the laws in these states, Deccanrummy.com would consider offering services to the residents of these states.

  • Until then, Deccanrummy.com does not allow players from Assam & Orissa to play rummy online for cash.

  • Enjoy playing 100% Legal cash game Rummy and Win lots of Cash prizes @ Deccanrummy!

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