Playing cards for entertainment is a cultural phenomenon in India. Some of the most popular card games are rummy, poker, solitaire, teen patti, and baccarat.
With the boom in online gaming, these card games have a new platform and audience. The world of internet offers a much more competitive and larger arena where the whole world is transformed into a platform wherein players from across the globe can play their favorite card game.Today popular card gaming platforms are offering a whole new world of wonderful experiences with attractive offers, cash rewards, a competitive feeling with the advent of new players from all over the world, and various other interesting options to choose from. For example, you can now play solitaire, have the option of playing the most skilled players of the country, stand a chance to win exciting cash prizes and multiple bonuses as a cherry on top.
With the rising popularity of online card games, there are a couple of pertinent questions to be answered- Are online card games legal? If you play a card game online to win money, does it come under gambling?
After independence, betting and gambling were made a part of Entry 34 of the State List in the Indian Constitution. And a clear distinction has been made between playing skill games and gambling or betting. State governments decide the gamblibg regulations within the respective states. While most states have adopted the central statue on the subject, a few states have come up with their own laws.
There is a common misconception which equates real money gaming to gambling. Here are the facts. Unlike gambling, real money skill games are legal. Gambling is when a person risks something of value on an event with an uncertain outcome, leaving it completely to chance to gain something of value. Games of skill on the other hand require skill and strategy to emerge victorious. To differentiate between a game of chance and game of skill becomes extremely important .
Games of skill are games in which you compete against other players and use strategy and skills to win. Games of chance are those where strategy is of little use and the outcome is determined by chance or the player’s luck.
Here is a look at three of the most popular online card games in the country and the rules and regulations about them.
Solitaire, especially klondike solitaire, is a skill game. As providers of a game of skill, solitaire platforms are protected by the laws of India. According to the Supreme Court, playing a game of skill like solitaire is a business activity. The activity of playing a game of skill with cash is protected under Article 19(g) of the constitution of India.
In 1996, the Supreme Court of India also stated that a competition where chances of success depend on a significant degree of skill is not gambling. Solitaire is preponderantly a game of skill and thus may be considered a game of mere skill.
There are various trusted apps like Solitaire Gold where you can play solitaire and win cash prizes. When you download Solitaire Gold to play, it is guaranteed that nothing is left to chance. By using RNGs to shuffle cards and dealing the exact same cards to all the players in a game, apps like Solitaire Gold ensure fair gaming.
It must be noted that the state laws of Assam, Odisha, Sikkim, Nagaland, Telangana & Andhra Pradesh do not allow the players living in these states to play solitaire or any online game for real money.
In the 1968 case of Dr K.R Lakshmanan vs. State of Tamil Nadu, the Honorable Supreme Court held that ‘rummy is not a game entirely of chance’. The court said rummy required skill because one must memorize the cards dealt and the building up of rummy requires considerable skill in deciding which cards to keep and which to discard.
As a result, the Apex Court determined that the game of rummy qualifies as a skill game.
As it’s declared a game of skill, it is completely legal to play online rummy for real money and win cash in India. However, it must be noted that the state laws of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Sikkim, Nagaland, and Telangana do not permit playing online rummy for real money.
In the 2013 case of Indian Poker Association vs. State of Karnataka, the Honorable High Court of Karnataka observed that poker is a game of skill. As no license is required to hold a game of skill, poker games could be provided online as long as they do not flout any laws enacted by the state.
However, in a contrary view witnessed in the 2017 case of Dominance Games Pvt. Ltd vs State of Gujarat, the Honorable High Court of Gujarat held that Texas Hold’em poker is not a game of skill and that restrictions imposed by Gujarat’s gambling legislation be applied to the game.
Despite the fact that poker is largely recognised as a skill game, the definitive legal answer to the question “is playing poker for real money allowed in India” varies by state. The majority of Indian states have made online poker legal.There are a few states like Assam and Odisha, where the odd phrasing of state laws has raised questions on the legality of both offline and internet poker.
The rules and regulations governing playing real money skill games in the country vary from state to state. As time goes by, the legal system will probably have a set of rules to regulate the whole online gaming space. As of now the card game industry is self-regulated and the industry takes extreme caution to avoid fraud and other malpractices. As long as a card game is classified as a game of skill, it is 100 percent legal to play it for cash.