Online gaming is on the rise across the globe, and while we have been keeping ourselves entertained with the free online games, cash games have garnered more attention from online gamers. Whether it is a card game, arcade/puzzle game, or sports, the online version of these games has made a prominent place in our lives. Rummy is one of the most engaging card games for online gamers that needs no introduction. However, many are still doubtful and concerned about the legality of rummy in India and the government rules for the game. The important question is, Is rummy legal in India?
Card games such as rummy are etched in the hearts of millions of Indians since time immemorial. People enjoyed playing different variations of rummy even when the online version didn’t exist. No festival or family gathering was complete without a game of rummy. So, now that our favorite game is available at our fingertips, nothing should come in our way. If you are looking for validation to play rummy legally in India, here’s everything that you need to know about it.
Game of Skill vs Gambling
Before we dive into whether it is legal to play online rummy in India, we must understand the difference between gambling and skill games. As per the definition by the Supreme Court of India, gambling has been defined as betting and gambling on games of chance only. This definition excludes games of skill, whether or not that game is played for cash. The 1996 judgment by the Supreme Court defined betting and gambling as a game of skill, basis on the below quote,
“The expression ‘gaming’ in the two Acts has to be interpreted in the light of the law laid down by this Court in the two 1957 cases, wherein it has been authoritatively held that a competition which substantially depends on skill is not gambling. Gaming is the act or practice of gambling on games of chance. It is staking on chance where chance is the controlling factor. ‘Gaming’ in the two Acts would, therefore, mean wagering or betting on games of chance. It would not include games of skill like horse racing.”
The honorable court also defined Games of Skill as a competition wherein success depends on a substantial degree of skill. Skill implies training, superior knowledge, attention, expertise, and experience. The game will be of ‘mere skill’ if it is predominantly a game of skill, despite having an element of chance. Therefore, a game of skill doesn’t imply gambling.
Is Rummy Legal in India?
In 1967, a ruling by the Supreme Court mentioned,
“Rummy, on the other hand, requires a certain amount of skill because the fall of the cards has to be memorized, and the building up of Rummy requires considerable skill in holding and discarding cards. We cannot, therefore, say that the game of Rummy is a game of entire chance. It is mainly and predominantly a game of skill. The chance in Rummy is of the same character as the chance in a deal at a game of bridge.”
In simple words, rummy is a game of skill, as it involves mere skill to memorize cards, build sequences, and sets with a strategy, discarding the right cards while keeping in mind the opponent’s potential strategy. Being a skill-based game, it is entirely legal to play rummy online for cash. In fact, the Constitution of India also protects organizing and playing games of skill as a legitimate form of business under Article 19 .
Despite the declaration by the Supreme Court of India in 1996, that rummy is a game of skill, an inconsistency still exists in certain Indian states concerning the legality of games of skills. The laws of the following states do not permit people to play rummy for cash and consider it illegal: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Odisha. Playing rummy in these states may result in penalties imposed on players. Therefore, reputed rummy platforms such as MPL don’t accept applications of players from these states to participate in any cash contest.
The Bottom Line
This must answer your question about, “Is it legal to play rummy in India?” The Indian law relating to the legality of rummy is straightforward. The Supreme Court declared rummy as a game of skill and that playing games of skills for cash doesn’t constitute gambling. Games of skills are exempt from penal provisions of most gambling acts in India, although various state laws do not permit playing these games for cash.
Anyone can play rummy games on the MPL app other than the MPL banned states which are Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Nagaland, and Telangana. Therefore, if you do not belong to any of the above-mentioned Indian States and love playing rummy, you can hop on to the MPL app and test your skills in various rummy cash contests. Is MPL safe is the next question you may ask. Playing rummy on the MPL app is 100% legal and safe. While entertainment and leisure are of utmost importance, especially in these trying times, it is also vital to keep responsible gaming a priority while playing this engaging game.