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HC asks Gujarat govt to deal with online gambling as per law

HC asks Gujarat govt to deal with online gambling as per law
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530
Ahmedabad, Oct 13 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court has

directed the state government to look into the issue of online

gambling, and take action in accordance with the law in larger

public interest before it is too late.

The court said the existing Gujarat Prevention of

Gambling Act-1887 remains completely silent on the issue, more

particularly online rummy, even as the Internet gambling

presents "many of the same concerns that the traditional

gambling activities have raised throughout the years".

A division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and

Justice J B Pardiwala in its September 29 order, which was

made available on Tuesday, pointed out that the amended

definition of ''common gaming house'', as per the Telangana

Gaming Act, 1974, indicates that gaming includes online gaming

for money or any other stakes.

The HC also said that while the Supreme Court has held

rummy as a game of skill, "the moot question is whether what

is being played is rummy in its true sense or it is just pure

and simple gambling".

The bench directed the Gujarat government to deal with

the issue of online gaming which involves gambling, as gaming

is a subject matter of the state government according to List

II of Schedule VII of the Constitution of India.

"If any website is operating from the state of Gujarat

or is engaged in any gambling games, the state shall deal with

the same in accordance with law, rules, regulations and the

policy as may be applicable," it said.

The state shall also examine whether such games result

in money-laundering or violation of laws related to foreign

exchange as well, it said.

"We expect the state government to promptly look into

the aforesaid issues and take an appropriate decision in

accordance with law in larger public interest before it is too

late," the court said.

The order came on a PIL filed by advocate Amit Nair,

who sought the court''s direction to declare online gambling in

virtual space/world wide web/cyber space, through mobile

applications as well as through computers, more particularly

online rummy, as bad and illegal.

The court said, "Internet gambling presents

essentially many of the same concerns that the traditional

gambling activities have raised throughout the years:

uneasiness about the morality of the activity; the likelihood

of addiction; the possibility of fraud; and the conflict

between the state versus central regulations."

"The questions of morality primarily surface in

connection with the Internet gambling''s accessibility to

children, because children have potentially unlimited access

to the computers and the Internet," it observed.

It is possible that without proper monitoring, they

may access the gambling websites "as readily as they could

access indecent materials," the HC said.

"The supporters of a ban of Internet gambling maintain

that outlawing the activity for all individuals is the only

way to ensure that a segment of the population, children, will

be adequately protected from corruption," it said.

Observing that the applicant has pointed out

"something very important in public interest," the high court

called upon the government to do the needful.

The court observed that the Gambling Act, 1887 remains

"completely silent" on the aspect of online gambling, more

particularly online rummy.

This means an individual would get arrested only if he

is caught playing rummy/cards outside/in a gambling den in

Gujarat, as per the definition of the term ''common gaming

house'' under section 4 of the Act, whereas an individual

playing online rummy cannot be arrested or booked for the

offence of gambling, it said.

The petitioner submitted that online gambling

websites/mobile apps are mushrooming at an alarming level.

He also said several online gambling apps are promoted

in Gujarat as well, with estimates putting online rummy as a

Rs 2,200-crore industry in India, accounting for half of the

country''s online gaming business.

Even when such gambling platforms engage in illegal

activities, the same remains unchecked/uncontrolled "due to

certain deficiencies in the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling

Act, 1887," Nair''s lawyer Bhargav Hasurkar submitted.

He said the present legal framework in reference to

gambling should be regulated to include the virtual or

online/cyber space aspects. PTI KA PD

GK GK


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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