International edition
June 15, 2021

Court ruling marks a victory for Indian Poker Association

India High Court says “poker is a game of skill”

(India).- There was some eye-catching news last week for poker players in India. According to the Bangalore Mirror newspaper, the Indian Poker Association (IPA), in petitions filed before the High Court of Karnataka (a state in Southwest India), had alleged that police officers were “humiliating and harassing aspiring poker players by filing cases against them.”

T

he Court eventually sided with the IPA, ruling that  since poker is a game of skill then legally speaking it should not be considered gambling  and that as such card clubs do not have to have a gambling license to offer poker  to players, whether amateurs or professionals. 

Reportedly the IPA had also sought action against  the law enforcement officials responsible for the illegal crack-down on clubs and players. The Court however informed that it would have to pursue that action elsewhere.

Suresh K Naduvath, honorary secretary of IPA, said: “In the E Eranna & others vs State of Karnataka case (1977), it was laid down that, ‘it is manifest that a game of skill would not be held to be gambling’. Poker is a game of skill, just like golf, cricket, scrabble, carom, rummy, basketball or volleyball and betting or wagering in games of skill or athletic games in Karnataka is permissible. The only two states where betting or wagering is not permissible even in games of skill is Odisha and Assam.”

The whole case stems from a police raid in July on the Royal Flush Sports and Cultural Association in Chamrajpet, following which  criminal cases were filed against 30 card players.

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