According to officials, Bangladesh High Court has declared gambling illegal and has asked authorities to take measures to stop the practice across the country.
Bangladesh High Court (HC) has recently declared that games in exchange for money are now considered illegal. On Monday, the government ordered authorities to take necessary steps to completely restrict such practices in the country. It is being said that these games depend on chance and luck rather than a player’s skill, which is why it is categorized as gambling.
The HC bench constituting of Justice Sheikh Hassan Arif and Justice Md Mahmud Hasan Talukder passed the order disposing of a writ petition filed by two Supreme Court Lawyers in 2016 seeking an order to stop gambling at 13 clubs in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna and Sylhet cities. The court asked law-enforcement agencies to immediately seize the equipment used in gambling wherever it could be found.
As per the Gambling Act, 1876 actions could be taken against gambling outside the Dhaka city, but the punishment was quite lenient Bangladeshi Taka (TK) 200 in fine and three months in jail. However, there was no scope to take any step in the metropolitan area. The court also requested concerned authorities to bring an amendment to the act to make the law suitable for the present.
Bipul Bagmar, the Deputy Attorney General who represented the state in the hearing mentioned that games like housie, one-ten or dice being played in a public area would be termed as gambling. He also stated that Club Owners have claimed that the clubs are private places, although the court declared the clubs are public spaces.
On 4th December 2016, the High Court issued a rule asking for an explanation as to why authorities wouldn’t be directed to take steps against organisers of indoor games like dice and card games involving money exchange at the 13 clubs in the 5 districts.
On 11th December 2016, the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court stated the High Court order followed by a leave-appeal petition filed by the Dhaka Club authorities. A 4-member bench of the same division headed by former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha also directed the High Court to dispose of its prior rules within 8 weeks. Eventually after 3 years, the High Court heard the case and concluded with its hearing on 23rd January 2020.