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The Telangana State Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 is set to meet with some opposition as three rummy companies, Head Infotech Pvt. Ltd. (Ace2Three), Play Games24x7 Pvt. Ltd. (Rummycircle) and Junglee Games Pvt. Ltd. (Junglee Rummy), have filed writ petitions in the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of the same.
The companies have submitted that the ordinance impinges on their right to free trade and commerce guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution.
The ordinance with an aim to stop online gambling bans online playing of card games like rummy for real money and seeks to take due legal action against those who are participating or promoting such activities in the state.
The government says there are complaints that online rummy has become a mafia and there are several cases of fraud and money theft through such sites. The Telangana government, soon after the state was formed in 2014, had ordered a crackdown on card clubs that encouraged gambling.
However, the companies have argued that rummy has already been declared to be a game of skill by the Supreme Court and the explanation inserted in the ordinance stating that rummy is not a game of skill overrules an express judgment of the Supreme Court. The petition argues that such overruling of a Supreme Court judgment is not permissible.
The Supreme Court on August 18, 2015, in a verdict recognised rummy as a game of skill and termed it legal.
The petitions of the rummy companies have also challenged the ordinance on various other legal and procedural grounds. The companies have appealed that the ordinance should be stayed immediately so that they can continue operations until final determination of the matter.
However, fearing some legal problems, online rummy site Ace2Three, which is based out of Hyderabad, has stopped its real money operations and has put up a message to that effect on its home page.
Other non-Telangana based websites such as Rummycircle and Junglee Rummy have also stopped accepting players from Telangana and put a disclaimer to that effect on their websites. Similar disclaimers were also put up by several poker websites.
It is likely that the petitioners will press for interim relief and a stay on the operation of the ordinance when it comes for hearing before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice T Rajani. The matter is listed for hearing today.
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Content Courtesy: Glaws.in