Social media was abuzz today after it was reported that the Bombay High Court will decide whether Ludo is a game of skill or sheer luck. There was plenty of mockery going around but as it turns out, Ludo is a serious matter and no joke.
Jokes apart, the petition was filed by MNS office-bearer Keshav Ramesh Muley and he demands that Ludo be declared a “game of chance and not a game of skill”. If Muley has his way at the Court, then provisions of the Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act, 1887 would apply.
If Ludo is declared a game of luck, then should stakes be involved, then it could be categorised as gambling. Muley had initially approached the local police in November of 2020 seeking action against the makers of an online Ludo game, Cashgrail Private Ltd, under the Gambling Act and un der relevant sections of the IPC.
However, the local police rejected his plea which motivated him to approach the Metropolitan Court. The local Court, too, rejected his complaint ruling that Ludo is a “game of skill and not a game of chance”.
Keshav Muley says that he was told by children that they could win money in the game which was confirmed later by online searches. “In the content of the said videos the uploader encouraged people at large to play the game of ludo the Ludo Supreme App and further claimed that it is and easy way of earning money with an assurance that one would only win money and not lose any,” the petition says.
“Given the impact the Ludo Supreme App has on the youth of the country given the evils of gambling and social menace caused by it, the applicant urged the respondent (police) for taking action,” it says.
“One cannot completely discount the possibility of a 3-year old winning while playing the game of Ludo against any other person and thus it is not a game of mere skill but a game of chance and therefore provision of Gambling Act are applicable to the above-mentioned activity. Therefore there is no element of skill and there is a predominance of chance,” the petition says further.
The plea also contends that “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’.” It also pointed out that the prize is real time currency and not some fictional notion of winning.
According to Keshav Muley, the earlier order by the local court was “erroneous as Ludo is a game of chance and not a game of skill and the provisions of Maharashtra Prevention of Gambling Act shall apply if the game is played for stakes.”
He also brought attention to the fact that the player has no control over what the dice throws up online and it is predicated entirely on the app and algorithm, which merits an investigation according to him.
As is clear, Muley does raise some valid points. Therefore, in order to settle the matter once and for all, the Bombay High Court has issued a notice to the Maharashtra state government seeking its stand over the matter.