Telangana Police have registered a FIR (First Information Report) against online rummy website Ace2three.com, based on complaints that the company was cheating players by manipulating the software. This arrives just after Delta Corp, India’s largest and only listed casino firm expressed interest to acquire Head Infotech India, the company which runs the ace2three.com website.
The plaintiff, former BJP legislator Yennam Srinivas Reddy, said an increasing number of youngsters were becoming addicted to online gambling and were losing heavily to the manipulated software.
Deepak Gullapalli, the chief executive of Head Infotech India, acknowledged the complaint and stated that ‘ace2three.com was a 100% legal business’ and had attracted a large number of investments into the industry. He also added that all the games of skill were legal under the Gaming Act and as Rummy fell under this category, pointing out that it had been recognized as a legal activity by the Supreme Court in multiple judgments.
Police in several states had slapped cases against online and offline gaming firms in the recent past in an attempt to curb the growth of gambling in India. This move forced the affected companies to approach High Courts and the Supreme Court for help. However, last month the Supreme Court dismissed a mass of petitions by various state governments looking for legal clarity on whether rummy could be viewed as a game of skill and handed over the matter to the state and central governments to decide.
Shortly after this episode, the Nagaland government has introduced a Bill in its Assembly to regulate online games of skill like rummy, poker and bridge. This Bill is likely to be passed by the end of next month. It is quite ironic, that this move against the Hyderabad-headquartered online rummy portal by the Telangana government comes just weeks after the Telangana government unveiled its latest gaming and animation policy, which aims at making Hyderabad the favorite destination for visual effects, investment in animation, comics and the gaming sector in the country.
India’s online gaming industry, is developing in to one of the fastest growing sectors in the country and has viewed interest from numerous global investors such as Sequoia Capital, Matrix Partners, Tiger Global, IDG Ventures, Rebright Partners and SAIF Partners. Some of the other notable online rummy gaming firms in India which have attracted the interest of global investors are Rummy Circle, Classic Rummy, Adda52 and Junglee Rummy.