Tamil Nadu & Karnataka’s SC online gaming appeals deleted from cause list, may be heard in March

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The Special Leave Petitions (SLPs) filed by the Karnataka and Tamil Nadu governments and lawyer Varun Gumber challenging the Madras and Karnataka High Court judgments striking down laws banning online skill games played for stakes were deleted from 14th February’s cause list.

The SLPs clubbed by the Supreme Court were slated to be heard on 14th February 2022 before a bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia. However, as per a drop note to the cause list, the matters have been deleted from the hearing, and the Supreme Court website states that the matters may tentatively come up for hearing on 3rd March 2023. No reason has been provided for the deletion of the matters.

Besides Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the state of Telangana has also filed a transfer petition seeking clubbing of the matters pending in the Telangana High Court challenging the constitutional validity of a similar law banning online games for stakes along with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu’s plea in the apex court.

While hearing the Tamil Nadu government’s appeal against the Madras High Court’s order dated 3rd August 2021 that struck down amendments to the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 that banned any online game played for a bet, wager or other stakes, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Vikram Nath had on 9th September 2022 issued notices to online gaming organizations asking them to file their responses to the Tamil Nadu government’s plea by way of a counter affidavit within four weeks.

However, to date, apart from Gameskraft Technologies, other respondents in the matter, including Head Digital Works Private Limited, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF), Junglee Games India Private Limited and Play Games24x7 Private Limited, have not yet filed their counter affidavits in the matter.

The decision of the apex court in the batch matters is crucial as they will conclusively determine the fate of the online skill gaming industry. It remains to be seen whether the matters will be heard in detail in the coming months.