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High Court declines interim hold on gambling websites

New Delhi : The Delhi High Court Wednesday declined to pass any interim order for putting on hold the operation of websites which allow people to gamble, bet and play games of chance, like poker, online.

“No interim relief. Let it go on,” a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi said while hearing a PIL seeking an end to such online games.

The court, however, issued notice to the Centre and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking their responses to the plea by Avinash Mehrotra who has alleged that such activities are “illegal”.

He has claimed in his plea that the problem of online gambling was “a rising menace that has ruined the lives and financial security of several persons”.

The petition has contended that such gaming and gambling websites are encouraging people to spend their hard earned money on games of chance like poker and blackjack.

It has claimed that success in these games was based solely on the turn of cards and no skill was involved.

The petition has also alleged that as most of such websites were based outside India, it was leading to foreign exchange leaving the country and this amounted to violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

It has also claimed that such online gaming and gambling websites do not deduct tax from the winnings and nor do the players pay tax, leading to loss of revenue to the government.

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