Gambling in India was initially controlled by the Public Gambling Act 1867, which is the central law on gambling currently, the power to enact lies completely within the State Legislature. Pursuant to this authority, most states in India have approved enactments laws.
Indian rummy has been announced to be a game of skill or mere skill by the Honorable Supreme court of India vides different Judgments. Games of skill or mere skill are kept out from the relevance of Indian Gaming Laws that forbids only betting and gambling in all Indian states to the exclusion of a few. The Supreme Court has elucidated skill in terms of better knowledge, preparation, notice, skill and dexterity.
What is gambling and how is it different from skill based games under Indian laws?
Gambling or gaming has been defined by the Supreme Court in 1996 as betting and gambling on games of probability only. The Supreme Court in this judgment specifically keeps out games of skill, disregarding of whether they are played for money or not, from the meaning of gambling.
It is significant to go through the judgment passed by S.R. Das, Chief Justice in the case of State of Bombay v. RMD Chamarbaugwala, AIR 1957 SC 699.
The contests or competitions which include considerable skill are not related to gambling activities. A game of skill, on the other hand – although the component of possibility essentially cannot be completely eliminated – is one in which victory depends mainly on the better knowledge, guidance, awareness, practice and skillfulness of the player. Chess, Golf, and even 13 card game game are considered the games of skill. A game of skill is one in which the component of skill prevails the component of chance. It is the leading element – skill or chance – which settles on the nature of the game.
A prize contest for which a solution was made earlier was obviously a gambling prize contest, for the contenders were only requested to presume what the solution made earlier that is to say, the prize contests for which the solution was found out by lot, was essentially a gambling exploration or any other competition accomplishment that does not depend on the work out of skill, comprised a gambling contest. At one time, the idea was that in order to be recognized as gambling, the contest must be one success which was depending completely on chance. Even if a scintilla of skill was required for success the competition could not be considered of a gambling nature.
Do games of skill can be taken as business activity?
The Honorable High Court in “D. Krishna Kumar & Anr. V. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2002 (5) ALT 806” have supported that Rummy is a Game of Skill and thus, prize contests which include considerable skill are business activities defended under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
There cannot be any rational doubt that the law passed by the state government was one to manage and control prize contests of a gambling nature and not contests in which winning depended considerably on skill.