The Delhi High Court has declined a request to issue a temporary order blocking all online betting websites in India, including those offering poker and rummy, ahead of the upcoming cricket World Cup.
The request was made earlier this week by local activist Avinash Mehrotra, who described online gambling as a “rising menace that has ruined the lives and financial security of several persons” and encourages people to “part with their hard-earned money on games of chance such as poker, teenpatti, sports betting and election betting,” according to reports from Indian news site Glaws. Mehrota called for the interim ban due to concerns of increased traffic during the World Cup.
A division bench of the Delhi High Court declined the request on Thursday, stating, “No interim relief … let it go on,” but did issue a notice to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking a response to Mehrotra’s claim that sites have been soliciting bets in violation of foreign exchange laws, tax laws and existing gambling legislation.
The issue has also attracted the attention of the All India Gaming Federation, which has directed its lawyers to inform the court that certain online poker portals in India, including PokerStars.in and Delta Corp’s Adda52, have been wrongly included in the petition.
According to Glaws, Mehrotra’s request was targeting the 2015 Nagaland Prohibition of Gambling and Promotion and Regulation of Online Games of Skill Act which allows regulated games of skill to be offered online. The Act, which covers poker, rummy, strategy games and fantasy sports, is applicable in all states where games of skill are allowed.