Kerala HC quashes online rummy ban notification

The Kerala High court today passed a judgment quashing the online rummy ban notification, issued by the Kerala government under Section 14A of the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960. According to the judgement, Kerala High Court denoted that the notification was arbitrary and violative of the right to trade, and commerce guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and the right to equality guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution.

Welcoming the court’s judgment, All India Gaming Federation CEO Roland Landers states,The judgement passed by the Kerala High Court is reassuring for this sunrise sector in India, particularly coming in quick succession of the recent historic positive judgement for online skill gaming by the Madras HC. We believe that this development will give a major fillip to the industry by encouraging investments leading to technological advancements as well as generation of revenue and employment. The All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) is a not for profit association and has most of stakeholders of the online gaming industry as its members. The AIGF has a robust self-regulation charter, overseen by the Skill Games Council, which is being followed by all its members thereby in compliance with the extant laws of the land.”

Gaming and Technology lawyer Jay Sayta says to Animationxpress, “The Kerala High Court judgment once again reaffirms that games of skill like rummy cannot be prohibited by the state government, especially by a mere notification, in the absence of a proper legislative framework. The decision will be beneficial in matters pending in other High Courts where challenges to the constitutional validity of laws prohibiting online real money games are pending.”

Welcoming the Kerala High Court’s judgment, Games24x7 vice president, corporate affairs Dinker Vashisht, said,The judgment by Honorable Kerala High Court is yet another addition to the jurisprudence that has consistently held that games of skill are not akin to gambling and protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution. The decision comes shortly after the Madras High Court judgement, is a shot in the arm for the sunrise sector of gaming in India”

Iterating the need for promoting skill-based gaming, Skill Games Council member , Supreme Court former Judge, Karnataka High Court former chief justice, Justice Vikramajit Sen,  added, “In the last few years, the interest in the online skill gaming has been growing exponentially in the country. The Supreme Court and multiple high courts have reiterated numerous times that online games of skill are protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution. We see the Kerala High Court’s judgement as a positive move for the online gaming sector.”

The Indian online gaming industry is at cusp of transformation, looking at a growth trajectory over $3.9 billion in 2025 according to KPMG. With a singular objective of ensuring growth for the industry, while monitoring operational transparency and adherence to the strictest possible norms and protocols AIGF recently announced the induction of former senior bureaucrat, Sutanu Behuria, as Rummy Chapter president of policy and planning. 

Commenting on the striking of the online rummy ban notification in Kerala, Behuria said, We laud the Kerala High court’s judgment quashing the online rummy ban notification. The Indian gaming industry over the years has been working to bring due attention to this sunrise sector and the judgement further motivates the industry to move forward. The Online Gaming industry is outstripping most other sections of our economy, growing in excess of 20 per cent annually and contributing significantly to tax revenues.

Online gaming today has emerged as an important avenue due to a multitude of favourable factors such as young and tech-savvy population, affordable availability of feature-packed smartphones, better internet connectivity, increased awareness and development. Therefore, the domestic industry has the potential to scale quickly and become a meaningful contributor.