Indian social activist and chartered accountant Avinash Mehrotra has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Delhi High Court seeking an end to illegal and illicit gambling in the country.
In his petition, Mehrotra stated that several websites are encouraging the country’s working population to gamble on games of chance such as poker, teenpatti, sports betting, election betting, etc.
Mehrotra said the problem of illegal and illicit online gambling is a rising menace that has ruined the lives and financial security of several persons.
Websites named in the petition include offshore betting websites such as Betway, BetRally India, 1xBet, Royal Panda, Dafabet, etc. and domestic poker websites such as Adda52, PokerStars.in and Khelo365.
The petition contends that ‘these websites seem to encourage the horrible habit of gambling amongst youngsters, and are doing so solely with a view of making large amounts of profits at the cost of these unsuspecting citizens of our great nation.’
The petition also goes after fantasy sports, which it says unsuspecting players are betting large quantities of money on the individual performance of players.
While games of skill are exempt from laws related to gambling, the petition argues that success in games such as poker, blackjack, and teenpatti rests solely on the turn of the cards and that no skill is involved.
The petition finally asks for a direction from the Delhi High Court to ask the Union Ministry of Information Technology to ban/prevent online gaming websites under Sections 67 and 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The matter is scheduled to come up for hearing before a division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Anup Bhambhani on May 29, 2019.