Online rummy will soon be officially banned in Telangana, as the state cabinet approved an ordinance on Saturday, that made online gamblers and promoters of these games, liable for prosecution under a new law.
The ordinance, which will now need Governor E S L Narasimhan's approval, amends the Gaming Act to include and ban online gambling.
"Soon after the formation of Telangana, the CM had ordered police to crack down on clubs and other places which encourage gambling. But the government received complaints that people are now indulging in online gambling. We want to eliminate gambling in all forms. So the Gaming Act would be amended, banning online gambling. The cyber police will track online gambling and act against violators," PTI quoted Deputy Chief Minister Kadiam Srihari as saying.
The Deputy CM was addressing media persons after the cabinet meeting.
The Times of India reported that the move by the TRS government was in contradiction with its gaming policy released three months ago, that proposed incentives for the online gaming industry.
However, the state government was upset over the rising number of complaints against the industry.
This also follows earlier reports that the state was looking to classify online poker and rummy as 'gambling', and planned to impose a fine of Rs 5,000 for the first offence and higher fines for repeat offenders.
While online gambling is punishable under Indian law, the legal defence often is that poker and rummy were games of 'skill', and did not rely entirely on chance and luck.
Two years ago, Andhra Pradesh High Court also upheld that Rummy is a game of skill, and was within the framework of the Constitution.
This was followed by a Supreme Court order in 2015 on the same issue, that also ruled that online rummy was not illegal.
However, it did not offer more insight, as it was the first such case being heard in India.
‚ÄúThe judgment in question does not pertain to online rummy. The plea by such websites is premature. As and when this question will arise, we will deal with that, but today there is no issue to be determined,‚ÄĚ the bench had observed.