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.