The Indian Poker Association (IPA) filed a petition with the Calcutta High Court alleging that the police were harassing a poker club operating out of Hotel Tourist Inn. The petition stated that the authorities raided the poker club whenever they felt like it, harassed members of the club and prevented the poker club from operating freely.
Police Believe Poker Is Gambling
The Calcutta police resorted to this behaviour because they believed that illegal gambling activities were taking place at the club. A common mis-conception about the game of poker not just in India but throughout the world is that poker is a game of chance and akin to gambling.
Since gambling is banned in Calcutta, the authorities have raided poker clubs throughout the city, making it difficult for poker players at these clubs to have a quiet and enjoyable game of poker.
The Calcutta High Court heard the petition from the IPA and ruled that poker is ipso facto which meant that it cannot be considered a form of gambling as there is no definition as per Section 2(1)(b) of the West Bengal Gambling and Prize Competition Act, 1957 which classifies poker as gambling.
The ruling makes it clear that poker is not gambling and will not prevent the authorities from using this as a reason to raid poker clubs.
High Court Instructs Police To Stop Raids
The High Court specifically instructed the authorities to stop all raids involving the poker club operating out of Hotel Tourist Inn. The police were told that they can no longer show up at the poker club when they like and question members or the owners of the poker club unless they have obtained permission from relevant authorities and secured a warrant.
The ruling is favour of the IPA will encourage the association to continue with its campaign throughout India to educate legislators and authorities that poker is a game of skill and should no longer be classified as gambling.
Poker has grown rapidly during the last two years as the younger generation have taken a fancy to playing professional poker as there is a lot of money to be made. The IPA has campaigned in multiple states to get gaming legislation amended that will allow poker operators and clubs to run their operations more freely without being harassed by the police over claims that poker is illegal.