Indian Poker Industry Takes A Hit After Gujarat High Court Catego

Posted by Carolyn on Dec 05, 2017 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

India is considered one of the fastest growing poker markets in the world today and gaming analysts estimate that its market could soon be generating between $40 to $80 each year. The popularity of poker in India has encouraged a number of domestic operators to launch operations across the country.

Poker Cannot Be Classified As A Game of Skill

Poker operators such as AAA Gaming Pvt and Dominance Games Pvt. Ltd opened poker clubs in Gujarat where poker is banned. Gujarat like most states in India has a ban on poker because the existing law classifies poker as a game based on luck. These poker clubs have been a big hit in Gujarat and attracted the attention of the authorities.

The authorities raided these poker clubs and sealed the premises since they were deemed illegal under state law. As a result, poker operators along with the Indian Poker Association (IPA) filed a lawsuit in the Gujarat High Court appealing the crackdown and asking court to amend its law and recognize poker as a game of skill.

However, the Gujarat High Court found that the evidence provided by the petitioners was insufficient and did not conclusively prove that poker was a game based on skill. The Gujarat High Court ruled against the IPA, which means that the ban on poker will continue in the state.

The Indian poker community also faced a setback in November when the state of Telangana issued a similar ruling and refused to amend its gaming laws and recognize poker as a game of skill.

Poker Push In India To Continue Despite Setbacks

The Gujarat High Court ruling has not deterred the IPA or poker operators who have confirmed that they will file an appeal and look to overturn the ruling. The IPA has been successfully in getting states like Karnataka and Nagaland to amend its gaming laws and legalize poker.

The situation regarding poker in India is in many ways similar to what is happening with the U.S poker market. State governments realize that they can generate a significant amount of revenue by imposes gaming taxes on poker operators but at the same time are concerned about issues such as problem gambling, criminal activity and money laundering.

Match IPL, Indian Poker League and GPL – India are some of the poker leagues that have taken on the responsibility of spreading the game of poker in India and also educating legislators about the level of skill required to be a consistent winner at the poker table. The IPA will count on the efforts of these poker leagues and their financial backers to campaign for the legalization of poker.

PokerStars Missing From Indian Campaign

Online poker giant, PokerStars had earlier expressed interest in partnering with a domestic company and launching operations in India. PokerStars is aggressively campaigning for online poker to be legalized in the U.S but has so far provided no support to the campaign to legalize poker in India. 

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