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Ludo A Gamble Or A Game Of Skill? - Bombay High Court Issues Notice To State On Plea Seeking FIR Against Makers Of Ludo Supreme App

Sharmeen Hakim
6 Jun 2021 4:47 AM GMT
Ludo A Gamble Or A Game Of Skill? - Bombay High Court Issues Notice To State On Plea Seeking FIR Against Makers Of Ludo Supreme App
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A petition filed in the Bombay High Court seeks registration of an FIR against the makers of a game application called Ludo Supreme, calling it as betting/gambling and a deviation from the original game, which is a "game of chance." A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Abhay Ahuja, last week, sought a reply from the State authorities by June 22. The petition filed by one...

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A petition filed in the Bombay High Court seeks registration of an FIR against the makers of a game application called Ludo Supreme, calling it as betting/gambling and a deviation from the original game, which is a "game of chance."

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Abhay Ahuja, last week, sought a reply from the State authorities by June 22.

The petition filed by one Keshav Muley, office bearer of a regional political party, seeks a declaration that ludo is a "game of chance and not a game of skill" and therefore, provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gmabling Act, 1887 would apply "if the game is played for stake."

The petitioner had approached the local police in November 2020 against the makers of the game – Cashgrail Private Ltd under the Gambling Act as well sections 419 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code. The police, however, refused to register a case, following which he approached the local Metropolitan Court. In an order passed on February 12, 2021, the Metropolitan Court too rejected his private complaint saying that it was a "game of skill and not a game of chance".

According to the petition, Muley came across certain young children playing the game of a mobile phone and noticed the Indian Rupee symbol on the screen and became suspicious and inquired with those children. The petition claims that the children told him that they could easily win money in the game. An online search later threw up various results on the popular video streaming website with taglines on how to money in that game.

"In the content of the said videos the uploader encouraged people at large to play the game of ludo the Ludo Supreme App and further claimed that it is and easy way of earning money with an assurance that one would only win money and not lose any," the petition claims.

He then downloaded the application and claims to have found that – one could play the game by betting money; bank account could be linked to the application and money could be deposited with the application's electronic wallet; it could be played in online mode with Rs 5 as "entry fees" per player and offline mode with one player acting as a host; player winning the game would take all the money put in by the rest of the players and a certain amount would get deducted by the application. The petition alleges that the application surreptitiously refers to the money that can be bet as "entry fees." "The prize money is not some notional or fictional winning but is real-time currency of value," it claims.

It further argues that the application qualifies as a "common gaming house" under the Gambling Act and therefore is liable to be prosecuted under the relevant provisions. It adds that the fact that the makers of the game are retaining a certain amount with themselves shows that they are making profits from the players, which too qualifies as an offence under the Gambling Act.

"Given the impact the Ludo Supreme App has on the youth of the country given the evils of gambling and social menace caused by it, the applicant urged the respondent (police) for taking action," the petition reads.

"One cannot completely discount the possibility of a 3-year old winning while playing the game of Ludo against any other person and thus it is not a game of mere skill but a game of chance and therefore provision of Gambling Act are applicable to the above-mentioned activity. Therefore there is no element of skill and there is a predominance of chance," the petition states.


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