India’s Supreme Court to decide on online gambling

    India’s Supreme Court is hearing arguments as to whether online gambling games involving stakes can be construed as games of skill and therefore fall within the country’s laws, or whether they are straightforward internet gambling, which is illegal.
    The games, such as rummy and other online card offerings, fall into a grey area.
    The Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka High Courts have permitted such games, however, the Madras High Court ruled two years ago that they were a form of gambling, banning them both online and in clubs. It claimed to be acting under public interest litigation.
    Among those appealing the ban are Head Infotech India (P) Ltd and Play Games 24 X 7 Pvt Ltd, which run popular game websites such as Ace2Three.com and RummyCircle. com.
    The companies claim that in the stakes-based games the winners take all and they only profited from the number of players entering the sites.
    For the industry itself the stakes are high. The online and offline gambling industry in the country is estimated to be about $10 billion in 2014 and the growth is accelerating with the introduction and increased spread of new technologies.
    Many land-based and online gambling businesses have been shut down in the past under the auspices of the Public Gambling Act (1867).