Kerala was one of the few states in India to have granted an exemption to online rummy games and in doing so made it legal for locals to play online rummy from the comfort of their homes without having to worry about legal consequences.
India was one of the countries that had the most number of COVID-19 cases in 2020 and states across the country were forced into a strict lockdown phase for a number of months.
During this lockdown period, online gambling traffic increased significantly as millions of Indians in Kerala and other states turned to online casino games for their entertainment.
Rummy has always been a very popular card game in India for centuries.
Rummy continues to be more popular than poker and the younger generation turned online to get their rummy fix. Keralaites spent a lot of time and money playing online rummy games during the pandemic which was a positive for iGaming operators.
However, it has also had negative consequences as a number of young Keralites have gotten themselves into a lot of debt by playing online casino games like rummy. This is true not just in the southern state of Kerala but also in other states across the country. Some gambling opponents have claimed that the number of gambling related suicides have increased in the last 12 months.
A public interested litigation (PIL) was filed by an individual in Thrissur who claimed that online rummy had become very popular of numerous celebrities started endorsing online rummy sites and it has resulted in a spike of young people who have plunged themselves into debt to fund their online rummy activities. The state high court was set to review the PIL and make a suggestion to the government on online rummy activities.
Kerala Gov. Revokes Special Exemption
The Kerala Government recently informed the state high court that they had decided to revoke the special exemption which they had granted to online rummy games earlier. This will now result in online rummy once again falling under the Kerala Gaming Act 1960.
This means it is now illegal for Keralites to engage in any online rummy activities as criminal charges can be filed against them.
The Government also informed the court that the Kerala Police Chief had submitted a proposal on how they can ban all forms of online gambling and the proposal was currently under review.