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The Kerala High Court has directed the state government to make a decision on whether online gambling and betting needs to be included in the Kerala Gaming Act, 1960.

The order came in response to a petition which had pleaded the court to direct the state government to declare online betting and gambling, particularly online rummy as illegal. The petition was filed by Pauly Vadakkan, a film director, who felt that online betting or gambling of any nature should be banned until an appropriate regulatory regime is put in place.

Vadakkan also felt endorsements of online gaming platforms by celebrities such as Virat Kohli and Aju Varghese encouraged “unsuspecting people” to sign up for the games.

Online gaming companies PlayGames 24×7 Pvt Ltd and Mobile Premier League, Indian cricket team captain Kohli, actor Varghese and actress Tamannaah Bhatia were listed as respondents to the petition. The petition claimed that in the recent past, the Madras and Gujarat high courts also noted that online real-money games such as poker and rummy are a growing menace as they inculcate a gambling addition among youth, leading them to suicide.

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