Gujarat High Court Rejects Petition to Allow Poker in Clubs
December 5, 2017, 12:09:28
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The Gujarat High Court has rejected the civil petition filed by filed by KN Suresh of Indian Poker Association (IPA), Isanpur Gymkhana, Dominance Games, Rollers Training Institute of Cards, AAA Gaming and other clubs, who were seeking the recognition of poker as a game of skill and wanted a direction to the police to refrain from interfering in the peaceful conduct of poker games in their clubs.

Justice Rajesh H. Shukla of the Gujarat High Court (HC) rejected the petition on Monday stating that the game of poker is gambling and cannot be permitted.

The matter of whether poker is a game of skill and whether it can be played for real money had already been argued at length between July and September’17 where the petitioner’s counsels along with two professional poker players, Abhishek Goindi and Aditya Wadhwani had made detailed submissions. The duo had even given a presentation before the court. The court heard the practical aspects of the game and even watched a few videos that showed professional poker players analyzing hands.

Justice Shukla had reserved the matter for final orders on 23rd November but the final verdict was further postponed by a week to November 30. Eventually, no decision was made on November 30 and Justice Shukla pronounced the final verdict yesterday (December 4).

While the copy of the judgment is still not available, it is believed that the petitioner clubs would be filing an appeal against the verdict from Justice Shukla before a division bench of the Gujarat High Court very soon. Moreover, the repercussions of this verdict on the burgeoning online gaming industry in the state are also unclear at this moment.

The decision of the Gujarat High Court is seen to be a major setback not just for the poker clubs but also for the future prospects of the game in the country. As PokerGuru had reported earlier, the Telangana legislature has already passed a Bill to completely ban online gambling and skill games played for stakes and just last month on November 17, another special criminal application filed by petitioner Samit Bharatbhai Patel was rejected by a single judge bench of the Gujarat HC headed by Justice JB Pardiwala.

Though the future of poker in the state is still uncertain, given legal crusader KN Suresh`s success in getting the game recognized as one of skill at the Karnataka High Court and then West Bengal High Court instills some hope for the future. For now it looks like a lengthy legal battle for poker clubs in Gujarat!

Related Articles:

1. Gujarat High Court Rejects Plea to Allow Poker & Rummy

2. High Court Asks Gujarat Govt to Clarify Whether Poker is Game of Skill, Next Hearing on Nov 8

3. Gaming Amendment Bill Passed by Telangana’s Legislative Council

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