hot stories

    Gujarat High Court Acts on Indian Poker Association’s Request for Support

    October 21st, 2016 | by Jason Reynolds
    Gujarat High Court poker ruling

    Gujarat High Court is asking the state government to say why a friendly poker game was shuttered. (Image: hcp.co.in)

    Indian poker players could be in for some positive news thanks to the Indian Poker Association (IPA) and the Gujarat High Court.

    Despite being seen as one of the emerging markets in the poker industry, Indian players are still facing a number of problems when it comes to what’s legal and what’s not. In recent weeks, the issue came to the fore after police officers broke up a game of poker inside a YMCA in Ahmedabad.

    Defining Poker as Skill

    Although the local authority was notified of the game ahead of time, the action was stopped even though no money changed hands. Incensed by the actions of officers, the IPA called on the High Court to step in and take action.

    In addition to asking the High Court to stop the local authorities from carrying out similar raids in the future, the group called for it to classify poker as a “skill” game.

    “Since poker is not gambling, it is not under the ambit of the Gujarat Prevention of Gambling Act, 1987. The expression ‘Poker’ does not form part of ‘gaming or gambling,” read the petition.

    At the time, local authorities determined that poker is a form of gambling. Using this definition, the police were able to justify a raid on the YMCA poker game, regardless of whether any money was actually being wagered.

    Positive Ruling Could Help Poker

    Following the incident, the Gujarat High Court is now calling for the state government to provide a response on behalf of the police force.  As yet, this request hasn’t been met, but if the IPA succeeds in having poker classified as a skill game, it could be another important step forward for the industry in India.

    In fact, if the ruling in Gujarat goes the way the IPA hopes, this could combine with other recent rulings elsewhere across the country. Indeed, in April the governor of Nagaland listed poker as a card-based skill game alongside other pursuits such as stock trading, quizzes, and strategy games.

    In terms of logistics, India is much like the US and its state-by-state legal system. Although the Nagaland ruling was positive news for players, other states would have to make similar moves if real money poker is to spread across the country.

    However, a favorable ruling by the High Court could certainly encourage other states to take a more positive stance on poker.

    Comments are closed.