Online gaming ban law: Supreme Court to hear appeal from Andhra government tomorrow

Published on:

The Supreme Court bench comprising of Justices JK Maheswari and KV Vishwanathan is scheduled to hear tomorrow an appeal by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the High Court’s order dated 31st January, 2023. The appeal lists Games24x7, Junglee Games, and Head Digital as the respondents.

The case pertains to constitutionality of the online gaming ban law enacted by the state government and the subsequent High Court’s direction to form a committee to determine if online rummy is a game of skill or chance.

This case will be the fourth such case around online gaming for stakes after similar ones by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Telangana which are currently pending before the Apex Court.

In the case, the Andhra High Court directed the government to form a committee comprising of a Judicial, Independent-Technical and Non-Technical Members, two persons representing the platform operators, one Police Officer of the rank of Director General [well-versed in Information Technology] as Members of Committee and/any other Member representing the Government.

The High Court in the said order had agreed with online rummy companies that games of skill are distinct from games of chance that cannot be denied the right to freedom of trade and commerce guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution and a complete ban is disproportionate and arbitrary, but ordered the state government to form a committee  to examine whether playing online rummy will require the same amount of skill as physical rummy or whether the online version of the game may be subject to manipulation and fraud.