Bombay HC asks Maharashtra Government, “Is poker game of skill or gambling?”

Bombay High Court LAW INSIDER

Munmun Kaur

Published On: January 18, 2022 at 11:40 IST

Recently, the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra Government to clarify its stand on whether poker was a game of skill or sheer gambling.

The reply was sought in light of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Munawar Ahmed seeking the Court’s intervention, being aggrieved by the inaction of the State against the private companies who indulged in this illegal activity while passing off the game as a “game of skill”.

The Petitioner claimed that poker was an illegal activity as per the Bombay Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887. He further clarified in his plea that he was concerned that following the inaction of the State government in this regard, private companies may start conducting other illegal games by passing them off as games of skill rather than gambling.

The PIL also sought a restraining order against private companies, Ninestacks Gaming LLP, and Baazi Mobile, who were made respondents for promoting online as well as offline Poker by passing it off as a game of skill.

The Bench of Justices VK Jadhav and SC More was informed that private companies had filed their response to the plea.

Additional Public Prosecutor MM Nerlikar, appearing for the State sought some time to file a reply. The Bench allowed the same and has listed the matter for further hearing on February 08.

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