Telangana Government Amends Gaming Ordinance, Bans Games of Skill

The Telangana government issued a fresh new amendment in the Telangana State Gaming (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 which was drafted in June. The new ordinance has now clarified certain provisions of the Telangana Gaming Act.

The Telangana Gaming (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 asserts that online rummy has become extremely popular and due to the ease of access to online rummy. As a result, the stability to family life and career of students has been impacted. The objects further state that playing poker in India has become a threat to public order.

The new explanation states that any act of waging money on the result of an unknown event including on a game of skill directly falls within the definition of wagering and betting and will subsequently be liable to prosecution.

The Ordinance has additionally deleted the existing Section 15 of the Telangana Gaming Act which exempts ‘games of skill’ from the classification of gambling. The existing Section 15 has been changed with a new provision that empowers the Telangana government to issue an order within two years from the date of issue of the Ordinance to completely remove difficulties in implementation of the Act.

The decision to alter the Gaming Ordinance has come after various writ petitions were filed by numerous online rummy companies in the High Court. The rummy companies had contested that the first ordinance which deemed rummy to be a game of chance was in opposition to the 1967 Supreme Court judgment which held rummy to be classified as a game of skill.

Now, the rummy companies will have to either withdraw or amend their petitions in light of the new amendments issued by the state government as the challenge to the gaming ordinance on the ground of classifying rummy to be a game of chance no longer exists.