Few weeks ago. Avinash Mehrotra filed a PIL to ban online poker and offshore betting websites. Following the incident the court didn’t take a stance. Recently a similar PIL has been submitted by social activist Deepati Bhagat seeking a complete ban on poker and similar card games, played online and offline.
According to media reports, Bhagat’s petition was heard by a division bench of the Delhi High Court, comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar, who issued notices to the Delhi government and Union Finance Ministry.
The bench also ordered that the matter be tagged with the Avinash Mehrotra PIL and be listed for hearing on 28th November.
The bench apparently refused to entertain the plea as Bhagat was unable to explain the fundamentals of poker how it is played.
Subsequently, a fresh petition was filed explaining that poker was merely a game of chance but not skill as player have no control over what cards are being distributed and that amounts to gambling which should be made illegal. The PIL also urges the court to ban advertising of such companies.
In May 2019, social activist Avinash Mehrotra had moved the Delhi High Court contending that several online gaming and betting websites are encouraging the country’s working population to part with their hard earned money on games of chance such as poker, teenpatti, sports betting, election betting etc.
He sought blocking of offshore online betting websites such as Betrally, Bet365 and Betway as well as domestic Indian poker websites such as Adda52 and PokerStars.in as well as asked for a probe against the websites for tax evasion and money-laundering.
The court had declined to grant interim relief to Mehrotra and had asked the central government and RBI to file their responses. The court had also kept an intervention petition filed by All India Gaming Federation (AIGF) on hold and and kept the matter pending until the next hearing on 28th November, 2019.