The Delhi High Court has disposed of the two petitions aiming to ban all forms of online card games, including poker.
In a filing in late October, the petitioners had contended that gaming and gambling websites encouraged people to spend their hard-earned money on games of chance such as poker and blackjack. It said success in these games was based solely on the turn of cards and no skill was involved.
The petitions had also alleged that these online gaming websites were based outside of India, leading to a flight of foreign exchange from the country.
However, in a submission on affidavit, the Central government told the Delhi High Court that the blocking of online gaming sites, including those of card games, was “technologically infeasible” as many states have enacted laws which partially or fully allow such activities.
It said that it would only be able to take action if a gambling site was being hosted in the national capital or if there were instances of offline gambling.
The Reserve Bank of India also submitted its own affidavit, saying it has taken every step possible under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to prohibit, forbid and bar any kind of transaction which was illegal and contrary to forex laws.
Following this, the bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) disposed of both petitions.