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- Is ‘Ludo’ a game of chance or skill?
- Bombay High Court to examine
- Petition before Bombay High Court
- A Petition has been filed by Keshav Ramesh Muley, a senior office bearer of political party Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, seeking a declaration that “Ludo is a game of chance and not a game of skill”.
- Petition also sought registration of case against Cashgrail Private Limited, which owns the mobile application “Ludo Supreme App”, on the ground that it promotes gambling
- The petitioner had, initially, approached the Girgaon police station with a complaint against Cashgrail.
- However, since the police refused to lodge a First Information Report (FIR), Muley filed a complaint under Section 156(3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure before the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) at Girgaon, Mumbai seeking investigation into his complaint.
- His complaint enumerated facts constituting offences under Section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code and under Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act.
Observations by ACMM court:
- The ACMM rejected the application observing that the provisions of MPG Act will not apply as “the game of Ludo is a game of skill and not a game of chance”.
Petitioner’s contention before High Court
- Muley contended that he had discovered that players could play by betting money in the game.
- It was Muley’s contention that the provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling (MPG) Act applies to the game if it is being played for stake.
- He submitted that a possibility of a 3-year-old winning the game could not be discounted and, hence, Ludo cannot be considered a game of mere skill but is a game of chance.
- The format of the game was similar to the original board game format. However, the difference on the mobile application was that an entry fee is required to be paid before the game commenced.
- The game concluded by one player winning the game and the amounts which have been given as “feeble pretext of prize money” for the table is remitted into the electronic wallet of the winner.
- It has been claimed in this petition that this company takes five rupees from every user. There are four people in a game. That is, according to this, 20 rupees are collected from every user by taking five rupees. At the end of the game, the person who wins gets Rs 17.
- The prize money is not some notional or fictional winning but is real-time currency of value.
- Muley claimed that the rolling of dice and value rolled is entirely controlled by the application and algorithm used by it.
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“The entire game is completely an uncertain future event and the occurrence or non-occurrence of a particular result is absolutely based on luck, or in other words based on ‘chance'”
- Muley also raised grievance against the posting of the videos of the game on online platform like YouTube towards promotion of the application as that amounts to soliciting the activity of gambling.