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GoQii founder Vishal Gondal served legal notices for calling rummy, poker ‘gambling’

GoQii founder Vishal Gondal served legal notices for calling rummy, poker ‘gambling’
Vishal Gondal  |  Photo Credit: GOQii
4 Mar, 2021

Founder of fitness tracker GoQii and backer of nCore Games, Vishal Gondal has received nine legal notices from different individuals across Delhi, Dhakoli, Gwalior, Indore, Jaipur, Patna, Solan, Noida and Nainital for civil and criminal defamation. 

The copy of the notices reviewed by TechCircle allege that Gondal’s comments on social media platforms and in interviews labelling real money games like rummy, poker and fantasy league games as ‘gambling’ were false and malicious in intent and had defamed the complainants who are all avid players of the games.

All the notices call these games of skill and cite that the complainants being called ‘gamblers’ have impacted their prospects and image. 

The notices also mention an article published in Medianama under Gondal’s byline on February 11. The notices call the article misleading and defamatory, and have claimed damages of close to Rs 75 lakh including fees for legal proceedings. Complainants have also asked Gondal to remove the ‘offending’ tweets and posts. 

Gondal, in response, tweeted the following statement, saying that he will challenge the legal notices in court. He added, “The common language and similar timing of these notices sounds extremely suspicious. It seems to be a concerted effort by strong lobbies to stop honest voices who speak against the evil of gambling.”

It is pertinent to note that nCore Games backed by Gondal recently launched its single player game called FAU-G set in Galwan Valley. In an interview with TechCircle, Gondal had said that real money gaming was gambling by another name. 

Esports communities in India have been working to clear their name from the grouping.

“It’s important for people including VCs and media to know the difference between a sport (esports) & these kind of apps; just because our sports is played online we should not club it randomly and nor these apps should be called as esports,” Lokesh Suji, director of Esports Federation of India told TechCircle.

In December 2020, a whitepaper by NITI Aayog sought feedback on regulating games of questionable legality operating under the banner of fantasy sports. The notices also quote the Supreme Court judgment which states that games of skill are not illegal in the country and rummy as well as other online card games fall under the same, claim the notices. 

There are no specific laws governing online games of skill in India. However, multiple states across the country are considering banning online games.