According to Indian law, the practice of gambling is illegal. Gambling has been declared a legally prohibited activity by the Public Gambling Act, 1867, and various Acts have been passed by the respective governments of states across India. Violation of any provision of these laws makes any person liable to be punished by hefty financial fines or a prison term.
However, even in spite of the existence of these laws, India is said to have a thriving betting market. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (better known as FICCI) has estimated that India’s illegal betting market is worth more than Rs. 3,00,000 crores. This figure is in excess of the amount that the Government of India spends on defense, agriculture, education, and health!
However, the laws that pertain to gambling in India are often confusing. Some legal experts have held that India has a blanket ban on gambling under centrally enforced laws, but which can be overruled by laws of the respective state. Others have, however, held that gambling is not an illegal activity unless any state legislation has expressly banned it.
But, keeping the confusion of the law aside, in India, there is a distinction between games of skill and games of chance. It is for this reason that the ever-popular card game rummy is considered to be legal in some places, while baccarat is considered to be illegal. Both rummy and baccarat are casino games, but according to the interpretation of what qualifies as what kind of game, both these games are treated differently.
This article in The Financial Express talks about the complicated legal framework in India about gambling. The law of the land in India states that betting on games of skill is allowed, but betting on games of chance isn’t. But that begs the obvious question, how does one even determine what qualifies as a game of chance and what qualifies as a game of skill?
A game of skill may be defined as a game where the outcome is determined primarily by the mental or physical skills of the players rather than by luck or chance. On the other hand, a game of chance is defined as a game where the outcome is determined primarily by a randomizing device or in which no physical or mental skill is involved. This category includes games with dice, spinning tops, playing cards, colored or numbered balls that have been drawn from a bag or box, or roulette wheels. Games of chance may be played as a gambling game if players choose to bet money or any other item of monetary value on a particular outcome of the game.
Even though games of chance have some element of skill involved, it is chance that plays a greater role in determining the outcome. Games of skill too will likewise have some element of chance involved, but the players’ skills are what play a more significant role in determining the outcome.
As per Indian law, assessing whether a game is a game of skill or a game of chance is to be done on the basis of the facts and the circumstances of each case, as it is held that there is no such game that involves purely one’s skills alone, and almost every single game involve some element of chance, howsoever small it may be.
For these reasons, rummy is held to be a game of skill by the Supreme Court of India, while other games like baccarat and roulette are held to be games of chance. Click here to discover the game. But first, let’s take a closer look at why rummy is primarily a game of skill and not one of chance.
- Well-defined rules and regulations
Indian rummy is a game founded on a strong set of rules and regulations that players have to abide by in order to play. Players are dealt cards, and they need to meld them into valid combinations called sets and sequences. In order to win, one needs to meld all the cards.
- Requirement of skills
Being good at rummy requires a great deal of intelligence. Good mathematical and analytical skills are extremely helpful in playing this game. This is because understanding the probability of cards as well as the possible sequences requires specific skills, and these skills will help players adapt their game strategy based on the cards they get.
- Necessity of a good memory
It may sound surprising, but a sharp memory is highly useful in rummy. This is because not only do players need to remember the several rules and regulations of the game, but they also need to remember to not make the mistakes they made in past games. Also, players need to be aware of the moves that opponents make.
- Importance of strategy
Rummy is a very strategic game. Each player is dealt 13 cards, and they need to sort them and build valid combinations with them, and then develop a plan to discard the cards that they do not require while picking up cards that will help them build the sets and sequences they need. Additionally, all this needs to be done such that one’s opponents’ chances of winning the game are reduced. Another part of the game strategy is to fool and trick the opponents.
- Importance of composure and focus
The importance of maintaining a calm mind and composure while playing rummy cannot be overstated. Rummy is a game in which only the people who have sharp and focused minds win. Sometimes players are bound to receive unfavorable cards, and they may even lose a string of games to their opponents. These are also important reasons for players to keep their emotions in check and remain calm to notice and take advantage of opportunities in the game.
To conclude, it must also be said that rummy is a skill-based game that takes a tremendous amount of practice to get good at. The various online platforms that offer rummy are meant purely for entertainment purposes, and they are not a means to make a fast buck.